Taps turned off in Okanagan Falls

Boil-water advisory expected to be in place until at least Tuesday for 1,000 homes and businesses in the community

Okanagan Falls tap water is currently unfit for human consumption.

Okanagan Falls tap water is currently unfit for human consumption.

Okanagan Falls is expected to remain under a boil-water notice until at least Tuesday, according to the head of the local irrigation district.

Chairman Bob Daly said that’s the best-case scenario if two successive tests this weekend show the water is safe, after results Thursday indicated the presence of E. coli in the community’s supply.

“Our hope is we can get this cleared up soon, but we’ll take whatever time it will take to ensure we get the water back on track again,” he said.

Upon being alerted by Interior Health, which performs the water tests, the Okanagan Falls Irrigation District flushed its system and issued the boil-water notice to its 1,000 customers.

Daly said contamination was detected in two wells on Maple Street and 14th Avenue, and the source of the problem is still unknown.

“What we want to do is see if it was a fluke of some sort or if something is happening in one of the pipes. The flushing out will hopefully take care of that, but if not, we’ll have to continue on with the search,” he explained.

Interior Health spokeswoman Grace Kucey said the agency is not aware of any reports of people becoming ill from drinking the contaminated water.

The last major boil-water advisory for the system was in 2007, Daly said, and resulted in a portion of it being permanently chlorinated.

Customers on the Okanagan Falls water system should only use it for irrigation or bathing. If bottled water is not available, tap water should be brought to a rolling boil for at least one minute before drinking or being used for cooking.