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UPDATE: Drinking water in the Central Okanagan causing concerns for many

UPDATE: June 3, 2017 12:30 p.m.

The Boil Water Notice for residents of WFN’s IR#9 has been lifted and replaced by a Water Quality Advisory. The Water Quality Advisory only impacts IR#9 businesses and residents, and does not impact WFN’s IR#10.

High water levels and an elevation in turbidity levels at water intakes resulted in the initial Boil Water Notice on May 5, however sediment has settled enough now for the water to be safe to drink for most individuals. (See WFN section below for more)

UPDATE: May 25, 2017 2:30 p.m.

South East Kelowna Irrigation District (SEKID) has downgraded their water advisory from a Boil Notice to a Water Quality Advisory. (See SEKID below for more)

UPDATE: May 25, 2017 11:45 a.m.

Water quality in the Central Okanagan continues to be a big concern as most of the population has been affected with water quality notices, from Water Quality Advisories to Boil Notices.

Many of the schools across the Okanagan are providing water for students. However, one parent was concerned that her son didn't have access to water unless he brought his water bottle to school.

"My son, he got out of school yesterday and he was telling me, 'Mom, they have water but they don't have anything to drink it with,'" said Denise Egan, parent of a student at KLO Middle School.

"So if you've forgotten your water bottle at home, you're out of luck," she said. She was told from the office that there were only a few cups in the office and the cups were removed because it was too messy.

Lisa Mayne is the administrative assistant for KLO Middle School and said that School District 23 (SD23) has Canadian Springs delivering water to most of the elementary and middle schools.

"We have bottled water in numerous locations throughout the school. We have lots of water," said Mayne. "They also delivered a case of paper cups, but we've asked students to bring water bottles because we have almost 900 kids. The waste and garbage and the mess and the water fights that ensue when you leave cups out there," she said.

According to Mayne, 120 kids have P.E. at one time, four times a day. Because of this, the P.E. teachers have asked kids to bring water bottles for P.E.

The water quality issues across the Okanagan continue to be monitored by the different water providers and by Interior Health (IH).

"It's unprecedented at this point, certainly in the last decade," said Ivor Norlin, manager of Infrastructure Programs with IH. "IH was formed in 2002, so someone like myself that's been with the organization since 2005 - I've never experienced anything like this in terms of broad spread water quality issues," said Norlin.

Complicating the issue is that the Central Okanagan has many different water providers, and with many different water sources the water quality conditions continue to vary for the different districts throughout the Okanagan. The spring environmental conditions have had a major impact on water quality systems on most of the systems.

"It's one of the biggest water quality events the Okanagan has seen, in terms of numbers of people affected," according to Jody Good with Mould Engineering

In 1987, Black Mountain Irrigation District (BMID) experienced a Giardia outbreak. BMID worked with the BC Centre for Disease Control to study the outbreak and learn of improved disinfection methods and increased chlorine contact times. The City of Kelowna experienced a Cryptosporidium outbreak in 1996 and improved practices from that event. The two most significant water quality projects for the Kelowna water suppliers were the construction of the BMID Water Treatment Plant in 1999 and the City of Kelowna Ultraviolet Disinfection project at the Poplar Point intake in 2005. (Source: Kelowna Joint Water Committee)

"Something that was so catastrophic as this is when we had the Cryptosporidium outbreak and that basically affected the City of Kelowna water utility in 1996. But this is pretty major," said Kevin. "Again it's a turbidity issue with the vast amounts of water flowing."- said Kevin Reynolds of Rutland Waterworks District.

To keep you updated on the water conditions of your area, we have provided a comprehensive update to our original story on May 19, 2017 for residents of the various water providers in the Okanagan.

To find the latest information on the water quality of your region, scroll down to the different sections below labelled by water providers.

Don't know who provides your water:

For the City of Kelowna, there are five major water providers (purveyors) of water. The City of Kelowna, South East Kelowna Irrigation District, Glenmore Ellison Irrigation District, Black Mountain Irrigation District and Rutland Waterworks District. You can easily find out who services your property by visiting the Kelowna Joint Water Committee site and putting in your address. For West Kelowna, the Regional District, and Peachland you will find the information below.

Original story: What's the status of your drinking water in the Central Okanagan?

Since flooding began nearly two weeks ago, multiple water quality alerts have been issued in response to increased turbidity levels in drinking water for the Central Okanagan.

There is a difference between a Water Quality Advisory and a Boil Water Notice, which you can learn about here.

The purpose of these alerts is to notify the public about potential threats to drinking water or to advise of changes in water quality that may present health risks.

Having many different water sources combined with several purveyors of water in the Central Okanagan confuses it a bit more. Some of the purveyors even have different water sources for their system, further complicating who gets what water and if the source needs an alert. To add to that, there are three types of alerts, a Water Quality Advisory, a Boil Water Notice and lastly a Do Not Use Notice.

The recent heavy stream flows caused by snowpack melt and the amount of spring rain has resulted in the majority of water providers into issue water alerts, from advisories to boil notices.

For the City of Kelowna, there are five major water providers (purveyors) of water. The City of Kelowna, South East Kelowna Irrigation District, Glenmore Ellison Irrigation District, Black Mountain Irrigation District and Rutland Waterworks District. You can easily find out who services your property by visiting the Kelowna Joint Water Committee site and putting in your address.


City of Kelowna

The City of Kelowna draws raw water from Lake Okanagan with four main water intakes located at Poplar Point, Eldorado, Swick Road and Cedar Creek. The City water system delivers over 90 million liters of water per day and requires over 400km of pipes, 57 water pump stations, 4 treatment stations and 24 reservoirs to support water delivery.

Update: May 25, 2017

Photo credit: City of Kelowna

Currently, the whole City of Kelowna water system is on a Water Quality Advisory.

Update: May 19, 2017

Photo credit: City of Kelowna

South East Kelowna Irrigation District (SEKID)

Update: May 25, 2017 2:30 p.m.

The South East Kelowna Irrigation District has downgraded the BOIL WATER NOTICE issued April 8, 2017 to a WATER QUALITY ADVISORY, effective immediately. The Boil Water Notice is no longer required as the turbidity in source water from Hydraulic Creek has returned to seasonal averages.

Visit SEKID for current status.

Original post: May 19, 2017

SEKID has been on a Boil Notice since April 7, 2017. The water source is Hydraulic Creek and with storage in McCulloch Reservoir.

SEKID has an intake on Hydraulic Creek, 3 groundwater wells, 2 storage reservoirs, 1 water pump station, and 36 PRV stations.

Glenmore Ellision Irrigation District (GEID)

UPDATE: May 19, 2017 12:10 p.m.

Glenmore-Ellison Improvement District (GEID) has issued a WQA for residents in the McKinley Landing area effective 12pm on Thursday, May 18, 2017. This advisory does not affect residents in the Glenmore, Quail Ridge, UBCO, Dry Valley Road, or Ellison reas, who remain under a WQA. The Ellison area remains under a Boil Water Notice (BWN) due to elevated turbidity levels > 5 NTU. GEID has been monitoring turbidity levels during the spring freshet and provides current turbidity levels on our website: www.glenmore-ellison.com

Currently has the Ellison system on a Boil Water Notice and the rest of their system is on a Water Quality Advisory.

Glenmore-Ellison Improvement District (GEID) has issued a WQA for residents in the McKinley Landing area effective 12pm on Thursday, May 18, 2017. This advisory does not affect residents in the Glenmore, Quail Ridge, UBCO, Dry Valley Road, or Ellison reas, who remain under a WQA. The Ellison area remains under a Boil Water Notice (BWN) due to elevated turbidity levels > 5 NTU. GEID has been monitoring turbidity levels during the spring freshet and provides current turbidity levels on our website: www.glenmore-ellison.com

Photo credit: KelownaNow


Black Mountain Irrigation District (BMID)

There are currently no water alerts for the Black Mountain system.

BMID serves approximately 22,000 persons within the City of Kelowna and the RDCO. The system services 1,707 ha of irrigation and 8,200 domestic connections in the Black Mountain, Belgo, McKenzie Bench, Scotty Creek, Ellison, North Rutland and Adams Road areas of Kelowna. The BMID has approximately 193 km of water main, a 105 ML/ day Water Treatment Plant along Mission Creek, 3 groundwater wells, 7 booster pump stations, 3 reservoirs and 24 PRV stations. The primary water source is Mission Creek.

Rutland Waterworks District (RWD)

There are currently no water alerts for the Rutland Waterworks system.

According to the assistant manager of RWD, Kevin Reynolds, Rutland Waterworks' system still meets and exceeds guidelines for Canadian drinking water, as well as the Interior Health's protocol.

The wells are monitored daily. Their wells are deep and the wells along Mission Creek are in areas where the creek is kept low, so there is no flooding in that area.

"We don't take anything for granted," said Reynolds. "They're all in great shape."

RWD was formed on Dec. 28th, 1949. RWD utilizes groundwater wells as its source and provides water to approximately 13,000 persons in central Rutland. The customer base is domestic with less irrigation than most local water utilities. RWD has a total of 19 ground water wells of which 14 are active, 2 are on reserve for the future production, and 3 wells are used for observation/data collection. RWD has approximately 79 km of water main, one large 1.8 million US gallon storage reservoir, 2 booster stations and 2 PRV stations.

City of West Kelowna

UPDATE: May 24, 2017 2:50 p.m.

The Regional District of Central Okanagan has upgraded a precautionary Water Quality Advisory issued last month to a Boil Water Notice for residents served by the small Star Place Water System in the Central Okanagan West Electoral Area.

Today, after further discussions with Interior Health, the RDCO is issuing a Boil Water Notice news release as Whitworth Road properties within 300 metres of the temporary treated effluent bypass outflow from the Wastewater Treatment Plant are not connected to a municipal water source and draw water directly from Okanagan Lake.

There are several systems within Within West Kelowna. Pritchard and Sunnyside are on a Water Quality Advisory while The Lakeview and the West Kelowna Estates systems are currently not on any alerts.

The City of West Kelowna has provided an interactive map for users of water systems that are currently under Water Quality Advisories, helping to simplify identification of properties within advisory areas. Currently, approximately 2,150 water customers in West Kelowna are under Water Quality Advisory. The West Kelowna Estates (1,000 connections), Sunnyside (1,000 connections) and Pritchard (150 connections) Water Systems, which pull water from Okanagan Lake, are experiencing increased turbidity due to spring runoff and flooding activity. These unfiltered systems are treated with chlorination only. The City will continue to monitor these systems and will advise customers when the Water Quality Advisory is lifted.

Map of Water Quality Advisory Areas

This interactive map, provided by the City of West Kelowna's GIS staff, will help users determine if they are within the water quality advisory areas (indicated in yellow).

The interactive map is available on the City’s website, www.westkelownacity.ca/water. Users are encouraged to sign up for e-Notification on the City’s website, at www.westkelownacity.ca/notifyme to have updates automatically emailed directly to them.

Pritchard and Sunnyside Systems - is currently on a Water Quality Advisory.

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West Kelowna

West Bank First Nations

Update June 3, 2017

Please be advised that the Boil Water Notice for residents of WFN’s IR#9 has been lifted and replaced by a Water Quality Advisory. The Water Quality Advisory only impacts IR#9 businesses and residents, and does not impact WFN’s IR#10. High water levels and an elevation in turbidity levels at water intakes resulted in the initial Boil Water Notice on May 5, however sediment has settled enough now for the water to be safe to drink for most individuals. Click here for more information.

Click here for the Boil Water Notice.
They are currently offering free bulk water to their users.

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Westbank First Nation


Regional District of the Central Okanagan

The Regional District of the Central Okanagan (RDCO) manages six water systems: Westshore Estates, Killiney Beach, Falcon Ridge, Star Road, Sunset Ranch and Fintry.

For current status on the six small water systems under the management of the Regional District click here.

UPDATE: May 25, 2017 10:30 a.m.

Westshore Estates: Water Quality Advisory. Boil notice downgraded

Killiney Beach: Water Quality Advisory. Boil notice downgraded

UPDATE: May 18, 2017 4:10 p.m.

In consultation with Interior Health, the Regional District of Central Okanagan has downgraded a previously issued Boil Water Notice to a Water Quality Advisory for customers of the Killiney Beach and Westshore Estates water systems. The advisory affects more than 280 properties serviced in the Killiney Beach subdivision and 265 properties in the Westshore Estates subdivision, both located off Westside Road. For more information.

Okanagan Lake is the intake source for both Westshore and Killiney Beach.

"With the excessive runoff we had, the water quality quickly deteriorated," said Mike Wyman, supervisor of utility servcies with the RDCO.

"We actually were at a boil for about a week when all the rain first started happening. So we quickly went to a boil and now we've decreased that to a water quality advisory on Westshore and Killiney," he said.

Falcon Ridge: Water Quality Advisory.

Mission Creek is the intake source for Falcon Ridge.

According to Mike Wyman, supervisor of utility services with the RDCO, as long as their are no more slides or drastic changes in weather, some of these water quality issues should start to go away by mid-June.

Star Road: Boil Water Advisory.

Star Road changed to a water boil advisory on Thursday and is expected to stay at a water boil advisory for another week or two.

"With the slide that's happened around Brenda Mines, it's affected the creek intake there (Star Road)," said Mike Wyman, supervisor of utility services with the Regional District of the Central Okanagan.

"The quality of water is very poor. That was very evident. We were noticing very murky, turbid water," said Wyman.

Sunset Ranch: Unaffected by current environmental issues.

Fintry: Unaffected by the current environmental issues.

UPDATE: May 24, 2017 2:50 p.m.

The Regional District of Central Okanagan has upgraded a precautionary Water Quality Advisory issued last month to a Boil Water Notice for residents served by the small Star Place Water System in the Central Okanagan West Electoral Area.

Today, after further discussions with Interior Health, the RDCO is issuing a Boil Water Notice news release as Whitworth Road properties within 300 metres of the temporary treated effluent bypass outflow from the Wastewater Treatment Plant are not connected to a municipal water source and draw water directly from Okanagan Lake.

For updates on their systems click here.

Killiney Beach - Boil Water Notice

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Regional District of Central Okanagan

Westshore Estates - Boil Water Notice

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Regional District of Central Okanagan


Falcon Ridge (Part of the Regional District) For updates on their systems click here.


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Regional District Of Central Okanagan

Peachland has three water sources and is currently on a Boil Water Notice. Free bulk water is being provided by West Kelowna.

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Google Maps

If you are concerned about your water quality, we did a story on CARO offering free water testing until the end of May.

For Lake Country there are six systems. Oyama Lake and Beaver Lake are on a Water Quality Advisory. Kalamalka Lake, Okanagan Lake, Coral Beach and Lake Pine have no alerts in place.

Click here for our State of Emergency coverage.



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