Update May 6, 3 p.m.
In response to the recent rain events and the resulting large flow of wood debris that has been observed on the south-west side of Okanagan Lake, the regional district has expanded the Sage Mesa boil water notice to include the upper zone of the Sage Mesa water system.
This debris has entered Okanagan Lake from the fast flowing creeks that feed the lake and it is expected that turbidity levels will increase significantly over the next couple of days.
The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen issued a voluntary evacuation notice for a group of Naramata properties.
The notice came just before midnight Friday (May 6) and affects eight properties along Indian Rock Road.
“Chute Creek has swollen its banks causing water damage to one home close to Okanagan Lake,” reads the release. “Flooding has limited access along Indian Rock Road for the eight properties at the very end of the (Indian Rock) road.”
The affected properties are 6749, 6751, 6757, 6761, 6765, 6769, 6771 and 6775 Indian Rock Rd. The Naramata fire department and local search and rescue have been on scene to check in with residents.
A reception and registration centre has been set up at the RDOS Office at 101 Martin St. in Penticton to receive any affected residents that wish to evacuate their homes at this time. Residents can call 250-492-0237 for more information.
On the other side of Okanagan lake, a boil water notice has been issued for residents on the lower Sage Mesa water system. With the heavy rainfall Friday and a forecast for increasing temperatures over the next week, the regional district is expecting to see both elevated lake turbidity and increased water flows.
In response, the regional district issued the seasonal boil water notice effective immediately for the lower part of the system, which includes all properties with addresses on Sage Mesa Drive, Ladera Place, Pine Hills Drive, Solana Crescent and Verano Place.
Residents are advised to use a safe alternate source of water or to boil water for all drinking, oral hygiene and food preparation/cooking purposes. Water should be brought to a full boil and allowed to boil for at least one minute to reduce the risk of infection from pathogens that may be found in the water.
Business owners and operators (bed and breakfasts) and public facility operators are responsible for notifying their customers of the boil water notice.
The Sage Mesa system has only one level of treatment, the addition of chlorine. Chlorine can target viruses and bacteria but with insufficient contact times and increased turbidity, these organisms have the potential to remain viable in the water.
Protozoa like giardia and cryptosporidium are also a problem. Giardia (the cause of beaver fever) can be partially inactivated by chlorine but, again, can survive under high turbidity. Cryptosporidium can’t be inactivated by chlorine and needs to be removed by either filtration or inactivated with additional treatment processes such as ultraviolet light, which are not in place on the Sage Mesa system.
For more information, contact the public works department at 250-490-4106 or 250-490-4135. For after-hours water related emergencies, call regional dispatch at 250-490-4141.