March 12, 2014 - 11:12 AM
REGIONAL DIRECTOR SUSPECTS WATER IS TAINTED WITH COW MANURE
CHERRYVILLE - A North Okanagan politician is sounding the alarm over ongoing water contamination issues in his community.
Regional district director for Cherryville Eugene Foisy says brown, coffee-coloured water began pouring out of residents’ taps over the weekend, and it wasn’t the first time.
“Everyone here is on their own well and a number of them have been totally contaminated,” Foisy says.
It’s happened before, Foisy says, most recently in 2006. He believes spring runoff is picking up cow manure from farmers’ fields and polluting the streams that feed the wells.
The affected areas are along North Fork and Lang roads, but there is also concern that Cherry Creek, which supplies the local elementary school with water, has also been contaminated. For now, students are advised to drink bottled water until more is known.
The water supply is tested regularly, but the suspected contamination occurred after this month’s routine check. However, Foisy says you don’t need a test to know the smelly, coffee-coloured water isn’t fit for drinking.
“This can’t continue,” Foisy says. “Fortunately, residents have caught it (contamination) quick enough, but the problem could result in sickness.”
Interior Health has two drinking water officers on the scene today looking into the complaint. Mike Adams, with health protection, expects they'll know more by the end of the day.
"They’ll see what's going on, assess the situation, and determine whether there is a role for us under the drinking water protection act and if there is, they would look at what the next steps are," Adams says.
A representative from the Ministry of Environment is also on site today.
To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at email@example.com or call 250-309-5230.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014