West Kelowna advising some of its residents to keep boiling their water

The city says the turbidity levels in the water from its Rose Valley Reservoir have not been this high since 2008.

Water in parts of west Kelowna should be boiled for at least one minute says the city.

The City of West Kelowna is advising some of its residents to boil their tap water because of increase turbidity levels not seen since 2008.

On Tuesday, West Kelonwa city hall said until further notice, a water quality advisory will continue in city’s Lakeview water system, affecting approximately 4,000 connections (11,000 customers). The neighbourhoods affected include Lakeview Heights, Rose Valley, Boucherie Centre, Shannon Woods, Tallus Ridge and Shannon Lake.

The city has provided an interactive map on its homepage under News at www.westkelownacity.ca to help customers determine if they live in the affected area.

Residents living in the Westbank, West Kelowna Estates, Pritchard and Sunnyside Water Systems are not affected. Neighbourhoods not affected by the water quality advisory include: Glenrosa, Westbank, Smith Creek, Gellatly, Green Bay, South Boucherie/Mission Hill/Sunnyside, Pritchard Drive/Jennings and Hitchner Roads, West Kelowna Estates/Bear Creek, Casa Loma and areas of Westside Road within the municipal boundary.

The city said due to higher than normal turbidity levels, it is recommended that water to be consumed and used by children, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems be brought to a rolling boil for at least one minute before use, or use an alternate, “safe” source of water be used.

People in those categories should boil water for uses such as: drinking, brushing teeth, washing fruits and vegetables that are to be eaten raw, preparing food, mixing baby formula and making ice.

The city said algae growth in Rose Valley Reservoir is greater than normal due to unusual weather this year, contributing to the higher turbidity levels. NTU levels have not been this high in the Lakeview System since 2008, it said.

As turbidity increases, bacteria, viruses and microorganisms can attach themselves to the suspended particles in water. These particles can interfere with disinfection by shielding the microorganisms from the chlorine used by the city as a disinfectant.

Turbidity levels are constantly monitored by cit staff through a remote monitoring system and  the average turbidity currently remains at 1.3 NTUs.

Turbidity guidelines are nationally established standards and are listed as follows:

Good (Less than 1 NTU) – No water restrictions are recommended.

Fair (1 to 5 NTUs) – It is recommended that children, the elderly, people with compromised immune systems and anyone seeking additional protection, use water that is brought to a running boil for at least one minute, or a use a safe alternative.

Poor ( more than 5 NTU) – It is recommended that all users bring water to a running boil for one minute or use a safe alternative.

For more information, visit BC Health File – Preventing Water-Borne Infections for People with Weakened Immune Systems.