The Splatsin band has sunk its support into the fight to rescue a Spallumcheen water source riddled with high nitrate levels.
The Steele Springs Water Source has been under a Do Not Drink water advisory since March 2014 because of high nitrate levels in the source.
A dairy farm above the source is believed to be the “probable source” of the contamination.
The Environment Law Centre at the University of Victoria, on behalf of the Save Hullcar Aquifer Team, filed a notice to Interior Health officials last week calling for the issue of a drinking water hazard abatement and prevention order.
It has also requested IHA order a complete and permanent moratorium on the application of liquid manure effluent on the 210-acre field. The farm services approximately 1,000 head of cattle.
There are approximately 150 Steele Springs users and 46 private wells that draw from the Hullcar aquifer.
“I think the whole aquifer is all connected from our community through the whole valley there,” said Splatsin Chief Wayne Christian.
“We’ve got really big concerns that have been highlighted by citizens there in the Hullcar region and we want to look at the data, have some planning meetings with them and throw our support behind some of the recommendations they’re trying to make to the provincial government.
“A lot of our people have well systems on that aquifer. My own well is on that system.”
Tests conducted by Steele Springs have shown nitrate levels higher than 10 parts per million (PPM), which is considered unsafe.
Levels in January were recorded at 12.8 PPM.
Of big concern for Christian is young families and pregnant women with well systems on the Hullcar aquifer, as health risks associated to high nirates in drinking water include potentially fatal “blue baby” syndrome, cancer, thyroid dysfunction and impacts those with compromised immunity systems.
“That’s going to have a real impact,” said Christian. “We have to make sure the safety of our members is looked after.”
Splatsin officials plan to meet with SHAT to discuss the data and strategize.
“We’ll look at all things legal and political, whatever we need to do to help them in terms of the process,” said Christian.