Amid boil water notice, public assured treatment system is working

CSRD explains Sunnybrae water system lacks filtration system for seasonal turbidity

  • Apr. 17, 2019 4:20 p.m.

The boil water notice issued on April 11 for the Sunnybrae water system remains in effect, but it is expected to be a short-term measure as water conditions are created by spring melt and run-off.

The Columbia Shuswap Regional District, who operate the Sunnybrae water system, say they want to dispel fears the water treatment system, which began operating recently, is not functioning properly.

“I want to assure the community the new plant is working exactly as it is intended,” said CSRD Team Leader of Utilities, Terry Langlois. “The Sunnybrae plant is not a filtration plant and as such is subject to changes in Shuswap Lake water quality, especially spring freshet.”

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The water system treats raw water with UV light and chlorine, but does not have a complex filtration system. According to the CSRD, adding a filtration system to the plant would cost between $2 and $3 million. The cost would be borne by taxpayers in Sunnybrae.

“It was felt that spending that kind of money to deal with a seasonal water quality event lasting a few weeks would have overburdened our taxpayers,” says Langlois.

Currently, only one of the CSRD’s 10 water systems employs filtration.

The precautionary boil water notice was issued as required by Interior Health because of a higher-than-normal concentration of particles in the water, a condition known as turbidity. The turbidity both makes the water appear murkier and can interfere with water treatment by shielding bacteria from the ultraviolet light and chlorination used to ensure the water is safe for drinking.

Read More: Boil water notice issued for Sunnybrae water system

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Turbidity is measured in nephelometric turbidity units (NTU). Boil water notices are issued when turbidity exceeds 5 NTU. The water treatment system measure turbidity constantly and is currently reading levels between 3 and 20 NTU.

Prior to the installation of the plant, users of the system had been on a Boil Water Notice for approximately nine years. Now, Langlois says a Boil Water Notice may take place in Sunnybrae for a few weeks per year, although this is completely dependent on conditions in the creeks and rivers entering the lake.

Residents can view the CSRD’s website and social media channels for further information and call 250-832-8194 if they have any concerns.


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