Government meeting to focus on contaminated drinking water in the North Okanagan

Spallumcheen resident Al Price with the water filtration system he bought after nitrate levels spiked in the water supply.

SPALLUMCHEEN - Residents will sit down with government representatives tomorrow to discuss the issue of contaminated water in the North Okanagan.

Staff from several government agencies will be on hand Thursday evening at a public information session about high nitrate levels in the Hullcar water aquifer. In a public notice, the province says the purpose of the meeting is to share information about its plan to address the water quality concerns.

Roughly 200 Spallumcheen residents supplied by the Steele Springs Water District, which is fed by the Hullcar aquifer, have been on a drinking water advisory for the past two years due to high nitrate levels. Residents believe the source of the nitrates is liquid manure being spread on a field above the aquifer by a local farmer. 

Local resident Al Price, who represents the Save Hullcar Aquifer Team, is encouraging people to attend the meeting. In a newsletter, he says the team does not intend to ‘beat up on the farmer or individuals within the ministries' at the public meeting.

“What we want are solutions to our water problem, and answers about why it appears nothing is being done,” Price says.

One of the team’s main questions is why the government still hasn’t determined the source of the contamination, when they feel the cause was clearly laid out in a compliance order issued to a dairy farm in March 2014.

Representatives from Interior Health and the Ministries of Environment, Agriculture, and Forests, Lands and Natural Resource will attend the meeting.

The information session is scheduled to happen Thursday, April 14, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Hullcar and Deep Creek Community Hall.

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