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Function boil water advisory remains in place

Function water system upgrades in the works



Function Junction's boil water advisory will likely be in place until January, says the private water system's owner, despite recent healthy test sample results.

"Tests have been negative for the past three weeks," Jon Perrett, who owns Van West Water Utility, Function Junction's water system, said on Tuesday. But Van West's engineer is drawing up plans for an ultraviolet system upgrade that needs Vancouver Coastal Health Authority approval. Until that happens the boil water advisory remains in effect. There are 37 lots or suites connected to Van West.

Function Junction residents and businesses have been advised since Sept. 29 to boil drinking water because routine test results had shown unacceptable total coliform and fecal coliform counts in the water. Van West had also been cited for not testing enough water samples and for not having an emergency response plan in place.

Perrett said he has made a number of changes to the water system that should avoid any future advisories being issued. In addition to installing a chlorinating system and hiring a certified water technician, Perrett says he has increased water sample testing from once every two weeks to once a week. He has also submitted an updated emergency response plan to the health authority.

British Columbia's Drinking Water Protection Regulations specify acceptable coliform levels based on the size and complexity of a water system and how often samples are taken. One sample taken in a 30-day period must have no detectable coliform bacteria per 100 ml sample. If more than one sample is taken in a 30-day period, then no sample may have more than 10 total coliform bacteria per 100 ml.

Coliform is a group of bacteria that can be found naturally in soil, vegetation, water and feces. The presence of total coliform in water can be an indicator that E.coli is present in the water. E.coli is the disease-carrying organism that killed seven people in Walkerton, Ont. five years ago when its water supply was contaminated.

A boil water advisory was issued last week to over 500 North Vancouver residents after E.coli was discovered in the district's water system.

"There are different forms of E.coli," said Cindy Watson, drinking water officer for Vancouver Coastal Health Authority. "But it originates from the gut of an animal, and it shouldn't be in your drinking water."

There are six other water systems in the Whistler-Pemberton area under boil water advisories.


What you should boil water for:

All water for drinking, preparing food (including washing fruits and vegetables), making drinks, ice cubes, and brushing teeth should be boiled.

How to boil water:

In an electric kettle or microwave oven, bring water to a rolling boil and let boil for two minutes. Let the water cool, pour into a clean container and store in the fridge.

To disinfect water for washing dishes, add two drops of household bleach to dish water.

Carbon filter home water treatment devices don't cut it. You still need to boil your water.

— Compiled with information from Environmental Health Services, Vancouver Coastal Health Authority and from Health Canada.