Village to flush out coliform
Montrose is continuing its boil water notice, following the discovery of bacteria in its well water, until its system is disinfected.
Interior Health will likely never know the cause of the small amount of coliform bacteria that was recently found in the village’s drinking water.
But is taking steps to ensure the contaminate is erased by following steps outlined by a drinking water officer.
The coliform, which is commonly found in the environment and is generally harmless, became a problem after consistently showing up in the village’s weekly water sampling over the past couple months.
Villagers should continue to boil their water for one minute at a rolling boil or use bottled water as a precautionary measure, following the Feb. 8 notice.
At its highest, six coliform bacteria per 100 millilitres of water were found in a sampling, when ideally there should be none.
The bacteria can come from different sources like decaying vegetation or old fecal coliforms, but should not be confused with E. coli, which brings a much greater risk.
“The cause of the current elevated levels of total coliform is unknown, and unfortunately, will more than likely never be known,” explained village administrator Kevin Chartres. “The drinking water officer used the analogy of a ‘needle in a haystack’ in trying to actually pinpoint the cause.”
A meeting with an environmental health officer for the health authority was held late last week to discuss the history of water quality in the village, with a review and inspection of key components of the system.
“Historical data does show previous levels of total coliforms in the system,” said Chartres, who said contamination could result from numerous problems such as pipe leaks, pipe breaks, inadequate cleaning and disinfection after repairs.
Interior Health recommended a number of actions to rid the water of future bacteria, such as disconnecting redundant piping, sealing gaps between the well head and soul plate, and a disinfection of wells, storage and distribution systems.