Kelowna has issued a water quality advisory for its water utility customers. —Image: Capital News file

Quality advisory issued for Kelowna water system

Annual increase in turbidity blamed for issuance of advisory

A water quality advisory has been issued for all customers of the City of Kelowna’s water utility, with the exception of customers serviced by the Swick Road intake.

The advisory alerts residents there is a “modest” health risk associated with consuming water delivered by the system. It is not a mandatory boil water notice.

The advisory was issued due to higher than normal turbidity levels at water intakes. The advisory will remain in effect until further notice. Turbidity level normally rise during spring runoff.

The city says anyone consuming tap water may want to boil their water for one minute and allow to cool before consuming, washing food or using to brush teeth. An alternate method could be to use water from an alternative source, such as bottled water.

Those at risk and advised to boil their water are people with weakened immune systems or chronic illnesses, those under 12 and over 65 years of age and people wanting additional protection.

“Interior Health has been notified and we will be monitoring turbidity levels at all city pump stations,” said Ed Hoppe, water quality and customer care supervisor.

“We are seeing high water levels and flows into Okanagan Lake. With that comes fine sediment that has raised the turbidity levels at our intakes marginally above drinking water guidelines. As a result, we have adjusted our UV disinfection and chlorine levels to ensure that we continue to maintain a clean, coliform bacteria free system. At this time, the advisory is solely based on the elevated turbidity level.”

To allow for increased line flushing and to assist with reducing the amount of time to rescind the notification, city utility customers are required to follow the current outdoor watering schedule and are also asked to avoid unnecessary indoor water usage. The current watering schedule is available at here.

Operators and owners of public facilities, food establishments and other businesses are required to post water quality advisory notices at all sinks or drinking water fountains accessible to the public.

A water quality advisory notice is available at kelowna.ca/water, which can be printed on standard letter size paper and posted until further notice.

The City of Kelowna’s water system supplies water to more than 60,000 residents and more than 1,700 industrial, commercial and institutional properties in north, central and south Kelowna. The source is Okanagan Lake.

The city ensures the quality of drinking water in the municipal water utility meets or exceeds standards set by Interior Health Authority. The utility’s source-to-tap water management approach includes watershed protection, water quality monitoring, treatment, distribution system maintenance, cross-connection control and water-use efficiency.

The city is one of five major water providers for the Kelowna area. Residents who do not know who supplies their water can go find out by going to kelowna.ca/water and using the Find Your Provider tool.

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