Algae bloom prompts water source change for North Okanagan residents | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Algae bloom prompts water source change for North Okanagan residents

Overlooking Kalamalka Lake.
Image Credit: nipresniloin via Instagram
October 24, 2020 - 8:00 PM

Greater Vernon residents will soon be getting their water from a different source due to the increase in algae in Kalamalka Lake.

The Regional District of North Okanagan notified customers Oct. 24, that the Kalamalka Lake water source is being turned off tomorrow, Oct. 25, due to an increase in algae in Kalamalka Lake.

The switch to the Duteau Creek source will begin in the afternoon of Oct. 24 and the Kalamalka source will be turned off the following day, according to the district's press release.
The decision to remove the Kalamalka Lake water source is based on unusually high numbers of algae within Kalamalka Lake.

"Customers on the Kalamalka Lake source may have noticed a difference in the taste and smell of the water. While algae levels are not exceeding a level that poses a health risk, the regional district is switching water sources out of an abundance of caution. While the cause of the increase in algae is unknown, it is believed that previous flooding and unusual weather patterns this year likely played a role," according to the regional district.

READ MORE: Large algae bloom discovered in Shuswap Lake not harmful: Interior Health

Boiling water is not effective or recommended when algae is present. Algae is not at a level where health risks are a concern, but customers can choose to use in house filtration systems while the source switch is taking place, according to the regional district. Customers should start to notice improved water quality.

These algae blooms are part of the reason the district is seeking filtration for the Kalamalka Lake source. Currently, different forms of filtration are being tested for the Mission Hill Water Treatment Plant Pilot Study, according to the district.

New Duteau Creek customers will notice that the water is much softer and has a low alkalinity and pH. This may be of interest to those customers who have in-home water treatment systems or aquariums.

Staff will continue to monitor water quality, notify customers of any further changes and when the Kalamalka Lake water source is turned back on.

For further information, please call 250-550-3700 or visit the regional district's website.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Carli Berry or call 250-864-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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