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Free water testing offered following Kelowna's water quality advisory

The City of Kelowna issued a Water Quality Advisory alert Friday afternoon for all customers within the City of Kelowna water utility Friday afternoon.

The advisory warned residents that there is currently a modest health risk associated with consuming water.

Photo credit: KelownaNow

According to B.C. based accredited commercial laboratory CARO Analytical Services, the flooding in BC’s interior could have a catastrophic impact on the quality of drinking water for nearly 30% of the population that is dependent on groundwater for domestic use.

"Anytime surface water penetrates into groundwater system it can produce contamination sources," said Vice-President of CARO Analytical Services Patrick Novac.

"The primary concern is usually some type of bacteria, particularly ecoli or coliforms, which are bacteria that can quickly reproduce and cause contaminated water."

To aid the city, B.C. based accredited commercial laboratory CARO Analytical Services is offering free water testing from now until the end of May.

"Residents can come by the office and pick up a specific bottle used for the testing and fill it up with their drinking water then bring it back to the lab and well do the testing and send the results back via email," said Novak.

"It's an easy way to know the status of your drinking water if you rely on a well water system."

KelownaNow spoke with Rutland Waterworks District regarding possible influence from either Mill Creek and Mission Creek on Rutland's well system.

"Rutland Waterworks is the only water purveyor in the City that is an all deep well water system. Staff have been monitoring all the wells to make sure wellhead protection remains in place and wells are not compromised," said the Assistant Manager of Rutland Waterworks, Kevin Reynolds.

"If a well were to be compromised, that well will immediately be taken offline, but as of right now, there does not seem to be any immediate danger to the Rutland Waterworks system."

Reynolds cannot recall a significant water event since the Cryptosporidium outbreak in 1996.

The City of Kelowna 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 City of Kelowna is a surface water system that draws its raw water from Okanagan Lake.

The other four water purveyors located in the city boundaries are either a combination of groundwater and surface water or an all deep well system as in the case of Rutland Waterworks District.

There are also many private wells located in the Central Okanagan. If you do not know which system you are on, you can visit the website to enter your address.

According to CARO, those concerned about their drinking water or with at risk immune systems can boil their water or rely on bottle water until test results return.

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