Spall water source targeted

A select group of Spallumcheen water users are now on notice from Interior Health to find a new water source.

A select group of Spallumcheen water users who have been under a boil water notice for more than 20 years are now on notice from Interior Health to find a new water source.

The Meighan Creek Water Users community water system received a letter in February from Interior Health providing results of a site assessment inspection done on the water system on Jan. 31, 2012. The Meighan Creek source for this system has been on a boil water notice since Sept. 19, 1989.

“Surface water is considered to be at high risk of contamination due to pathogens that can enter surface water,” wrote Interior Health drinking water officer Janelle Kwan in a letter to water system secretaries Jim and Chellan Salak.

“Thus the Drinking Water Protection Act and Drinking Water Protection Regulation requires that disinfection and adequate treatment must be met for all water sources.”

The Salaks, in a letter to Spallumcheen council, said there are 15 water licences in the Meighan Creek system who live on Powerhouse Road, Pleasant Valley Cross Road, Highway 97A and Eagle Rock Road.

Kwan explained that the water system has been entered into Interior Health’s boil water remediation program, which is a five-year program that utilizes an incremental approach to move water systems out of the “high-risk” category by making necessary improvements to the water system.

Kwan listed improvement options for Meighan Creek users, including finding an alternate source or possibly hooking up with the City of Armstrong.

If users decide to keep the existing source, wrote Kwan, “significant upgrades to the existing source as well as installing treatment to comply with…drinking water objectives would need to be met.”

“We have been notified by Interior Health that we should find alternative water for our small district,” wrote Chellan Salak in her letter to Spall council, asking for help.

“Most of our water users are seniors and are on limited income, so I think there would be a hardship if we all have to drill for water.”

Coun. Christine Fraser led considerable debate on the topic, insisting the township help out the residents as much as possible.

“The water has been this way for 20-some years… and it seems to me, in these instances that are coming up, that Interior Health is taking the letter of the law to the absolute letter of the law,” said Fraser.

“These are some really dramatic changes for people.”

Township administrator Lynda Shykora noted that Interior Health has offered support for the users, but Coun. Andrew Casson said any option that is undertaken will be expensive.

Council unanimously supported a motion by Fraser to add this to Thursday’s joint council meeting with the City of Armstrong for discussion.

Coun. Todd York was absent from the meeting.