Beaver Falls: Water advisory lifted

A water quality advisory to consumers in the Beaver Falls Waterworks District (BFWD) was lifted Friday.

A water quality advisory to consumers in the Beaver Falls Waterworks District (BFWD) was lifted Friday after water tests results came back negative for bacteria mid-week.

Early August, the advisory was issued to 207 affected homes located in Area A between the outskirts of Montrose to Bluebird Corner in Fruitvale after tests showed positive for coliform bacteria.

The bacteria is commonly found in the environment in sources such as decaying vegetation or old fecal coliforms, and because the district’s water comes from an aquifer, bacteria can leach through the soil to the underground source.

Chlorination by a pump operator was completed Aug. 14, and water samples taken from three residential homes the following day tested negative for coliforms.

“The results showed that it was back to normal and acceptable levels,” said Shirley Fletcher, BFWD secretary/treasurer.

However, the advisory remained in effect pending two further samples that had to test negative for the bacteria.

Fletcher confirmed those tests came back at normal acceptable levels Thursday.

“We will be calling each resident by telephone to let them know the advisory has been lifted,” she said.

Water testing for total coliform and E. coli counts is conducted at eight sites in the BFWD on a bi-weekly basis. Fletcher is responsible for the testing, which involves visiting a rate payers house, and running the tap water for five minutes before collecting a sample. An independent laboratory in Kelowna completes bacteriological testing and any adverse results are report to Interior Health and the district.

The BFWD is an improvement district, which means local authorities are responsible for providing services for the benefit of residents in a community. Improvement districts are focused on providing services such as water and fire protection rather than general governance or land use planning.

The Beaver Falls community waterworks system is directed by five trustees elected by landowners within its district. The trustees, one whom is a chair, make all water-related decisions on behalf of the landowners.

Federal and provincial laws such as the Drinking Water Protection Act apply to the improvement district, with the board of trustees having all the power necessary or useful to manage the usually rural services.

The district’s water lines were installed in the late ‘50s and only certain lots remain in the BFWD, most newer homes pull water from municipal sources that are chlorinated.