The Village of Pemberton (VOP) has released results from a second round of water testing.
The results appear to show that flushing the taps until the water runs cold removes elevated levels of lead — caused by corrosive, low-pH water eroding certain pipe fittings — bringing the VOP's drinking water back within Maximum Acceptable Concentrations (MAC) for lead.
The majority of the pre-flush samples, however, remained above the MAC.
In two pre-flush samples, the lead content was 10 times the acceptable limit, though both post-flush samples showed acceptable levels.
The second round of testing consisted of both pre- and post-flush samples, and expanded the areas tested to include the Pemberton & District Community Centre, Signal Hill Elementary School and Pemberton Secondary School, and the Pemberton Children's Centre.
Full results can be viewed at www.pemberton.ca/blog/2016/3/30/drinking-water-test-results.
The first round of water testing, conducted in late February to determine the best system to fix the low-pH levels in the VOP's water, found elevated lead levels in the drinking water of some peoples' homes, caused by the corrosive water reacting with certain plumbing fixtures.
"Even if your home tested high in the pre-flush, the bulk of the water that you're drinking on a day-to-day basis will be at an acceptable level, so I think that's good news," Pemberton Mayor Mike Richman said, of his reaction to the new results.
"It doesn't take away the fact that those elevated levels are still there in the pre-flush tests... but it certainly brings some reassurance that flushing works, that by doing that the water is sound and people are safe to drink it, so that's obviously positive."
Having said that, Richman said he doesn't want to minimize peoples' concerns.
"I get it," he said. "If you're a breastfeeding mom, or whatever it is, I totally get those concerns... it's their personal health and it's their water, and there's nothing more important."
The VOP is hosting a town hall meeting on April 5 at the Pemberton Community Centre. Representatives from Vancouver Coastal Health will be on hand to answer peoples' health questions, and municipal engineers will also be there to talk about the history of Pemberton's water infrastructure.
"Really it's about making ourselves accessible to people for their questions and their concerns and let's get all those out on the table and let's have a good open conversation," Richman said. "To me that's what's really important about the evening."
The VOP will also share details of the "big-fix" solutions it's looking at to correct the low-pH levels of its water supply.
"We're zeroing in on it, and we'll be able to talk more about timelines and hopefully about budget by (April 5)," Richman said.
"We've been working hard with the engineers and we think we have the right system lined up."
The VOP is planning on offering childcare during the town hall for those who need it, but wants to get a sense of how much staff it requires to do so. Parents who need childcare to attend the meeting are asked to contact the Village office.
Questions regarding the testing can be directed to the VOP by calling 604-894-6135 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pick up next week's Pique for more on the VOP's town hall meeting.