West Kelowna says although recent testing showed improvement to the quality of the water coming out of the Rose Valley reservoir, the water quality advisory currently in place for Lakeview water system users will remain in place.
The advisory, first issued Aug. 4, affects approximately 4,000 connections (11,000 customers) in Lakeview Heights, Rose Valley, Boucherie Centre, Shannon Woods, Tallus Ridge and Shannon Lake.
It was prompted when routine testing of the water system indicated a turbidity level of 1.3 nephelometric turbidity units (NTU). Levels under one NTU are considered good quality, while one to five NTU is only considered fair quality. Testing this week of Aug. 29 showed a rating of 1.2 NTU.
Turbidity occurs when fine suspended particles of clay, silt, organic and inorganic matter, plankton and other microscopic organisms are picked up by water as it passes through a watershed.
The city says it is continuing to monitor the water daily and will advise the public as soon as possible as to when the advisory can be lifted.
The advisory suggests water children, the elderly, people with compromised immune systems, and anyone seeking additional protection, use water that is brought to a running boil for one minute. An alternative is to use bottled water.
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.
Algae growth in the Rose Valley reservoir is greater than normal this summer due to unusual weather earlier year, contributing to the higher turbidity levels. NTU levels have not been this high in the Lakeview system since 2008, says the city.
Residents on the Westbank, West Kelowna Estates, Pritchard and Sunnyside water systems are not affected. Those neighbourhoods 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 of West Kelowna 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.