Water quality alert likely lifted soon

Boil water advisory may be lifted Monday for users on Kalamalka Lake water source

Vernon and Coldstream residents are getting closer to knowing if they can drink out of the tap.

The Regional District of North Okanagan expects to have samples back on the quality of Kalamalka Lake water today. A decision will then be made on rescinding the boil water order and possibly shifting towards a water quality advisory.

“Realistically, I don’t think it will happen until Monday because if we get the results, we then have to go through a process,” said Arnold Badke, general manager of engineering, of needing approval from the Interior Health Authority to lift the boil advisory.

Under a water quality notice, young children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems should boil their water for one minute for drinking, washing produce, making beverages or ice and brushing teeth.

The boil water advisory was initiated Sept. 2 after high bacteria counts were found in Kalamalka Lake.

“There is no indication of e.coli in our system,” said Badke, adding that a boil alert on Kal Lake is rare.

“This is probably the first time it’s happened since 1996.”

The situation is a result of bacteria attaching itself to calcium carbonate, which creates the blue-green colour of Kalamalka Lake.

Some customers on the Kalamalka Lake source have been switched over to Duteau Creek because of the boil water notice. To determine if your property has been switched, go to www.greatervernon.ca.

The boil water alert does not impact residents on the Duteau Creek source.