UPDATE: Hedley residents will be without water for at least one week

UPDATE: Hedley residents will be without water for at least one week

Elevated levels of coliform and arsenic leave small town dry

  • Dec. 9, 2018 5:05 p.m.

It will be at least one week, and possibly longer, before Hedley residents can drink their water, according to the health authority.

A do not consume order was delivered to residents in the community Saturday, following a significant spike in coliform levels in the Hedley Improvement District Water System.

There are 240 people living in Hedley.

Rob Birtles, environmental health officer for Interior Health who also leads the small water infrastructure program, said under simpler circumstances a water boil advisory would have been issued after the December 4 test results were returned.

However because Hedley water also has higher than acceptable levels of arsenic – and has been under a water advisory notice for that issue since July – the water simply isn’t safe.

“It’s two issues really,” he said in an interview Sunday with Black Press, noting that concentrations of arsenic can increase if water is boiled for a long period of time.

He said the current arsenic levels in Hedley water are “just above” acceptable levels, 0.020 milligrams per litre compared to the allowable amount of 0.010 milligrams per litre

The dramatic increase in coliform levels could be the result of a break in a water line, he said. Alternatively the source could be a malfunction in a home or business that caused water to be reversed into the system.

The Interior Health samples taken on Dec. 4 at the pump house showed a count of 260 CFU per 100 millilitres. By comparison, the Nov. 6 sample at the same location showed a count of less than one.

“Obviously we need more investigation and further testing,” said Birtles.

The system will be inspected Monday, said Birtles, and will have to possibly be repaired, flushed, and then tested for two consecutive days.

Comments on social media, after Black Press reported the story earlier today, expressed concern that it took three days for the do not consume order to be issued.

However Birtles said it always takes three days to receive test results as the samples must be transported to a laboratory.

Birtles said that while coliform can be an indicator of e-coli, the samples tested negative for that bacteria. It means whatever is contaminating the water is vegetative.

He explained that coliform levels are tested, not for pathogens, but to indentify a problem with a system.

No one has reported falling ill from consuming the water, he said.

“The advice I give to people is if they feel ill they should seek help from their physicians.”

*************************

Residents of Hedley are being told not to drink the water coming out of their taps.

The Interior Health Authority has issued a do not consume order, meaning the water can not be made safe by boiling it. If you swallow the water you could become sick.

The warning comes after samples taken from the Hedley Improvement District Water System at the pump house and another sampling location on Scott Avenue showed unacceptable levels of coliform.

According to the Interior Health, samples taken on Dec. 4 at the pump house showed a count of 260 CFU per 100 millilitres. By comparison, the Nov. 6 sample at the same location showed a count of less than one.

Interior Health said the water should not be drunk, used to brush teeth, used to prepare food or be given to pets. The water can still be used for cleaning, watering plants or showering.


Steve Kidd
Senior reporter, Penticton Western News
Email me or message me on Facebook
Follow us on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

 

UPDATE: Hedley residents will be without water for at least one week

Just Posted

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 Penticton-area men charged with Kamloops brothers’ double homicide

Brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May in Naramata

(File photo)
Penticton not holding Canada Day activities out of respect for Indigenous people

Cities across B.C. are cancelling the holiday after an increased spotlight on Canada’s dark history

Fruit farmers in the Okanagan and Creston valleys are in desperate need of cherry harvesters amid COVID-19 work shortages. (Photo: Unsplash/Abigail Miller)
‘Desperate’ need for workers at Okanagan cherry farms

Fruit farmers are worried they’ll have to abandon crops due to COVID-19 work shortages

JAK's Liquor Store in Penticton will be donating 10 per cent of its sales on Saturday, June 19, to the Penticton Salvation Army Food Bank. (Photo from JAKS.com)
Stock up your liquor cabinet and support the Penticton food bank

Jak’s beer and wine store is donating a portion of sales to local food banks Saturday

The illegal open fire above Naramata continues to smoke on Friday, June 18. The fire was left to burn itself out by BC Wildfire. (Monique Tamminga - Western News)
Illegal open burn in Naramata will be left to smoke

BC Wildfire could not confirm whether the property owner had been fined

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Earls On Top at 211 Bernard Avenue in Kelowna. (Google Maps photo)
Downtown Kelowna’s Earls ordered closed after COVID-19 transmission

Earls on Top on Bernard Avenue will be closed from June 18 to June 27

A motorycle crash has been reported on Westside Road. (Google Maps)
UPDATE: Westside Road reopened following motorcycle crash near Vernon

AIM Roads advises drivers to expect delays due to congestion

Dereck Donald Sears. (Contributed/Crimestoppers)
Murder charge laid in relation to suspicious Kelowna death

Dereck Donald Sears is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Darren Middleton

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Most Read