Water advisory for Beaver Falls on tap

A water quality advisory was issued for 207 rate payers of the Beaver Falls Waterworks District Monday.

A water quality advisory was issued for 207 rate payers of the Beaver Falls Waterworks District (BFWD) Monday.

Affected homes are located in Area A between the outskirts of Montrose to Bluebird corner and the Forsythia subdivision in Fruitvale.

The 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.

The notice comes after recent water test results indicated low levels of total coliform bacteria, when ideally there should be none.

The bacteria is commonly found in the environment in sources such decaying vegetation or old fecal coliforms.

“This is a precautionary measure,” said Shirley Fletcher, BFWD secretary/treasurer.

“We need to warn people because coliforms can affect the health of babies and the elderly.”

Water chlorination by a pump operator began Monday and will continue to Wednesday, with at-risk residents advised to take precautions until the end of the week.

Residents with immature or compromised immune systems are advised to boil water rapidly for at least one minute or use an alternate safe source.

“Our water comes from an aquifer, an underground source,” said Fletcher, adding, “anything can leach through so until the chlorination is complete the advisory is in effect.”

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 payer’s house, and running tap water for five minutes before collecting a sample. An independent laboratory in Kelowna completes bacteriological testing and any adverse results are reported to Interior Health and the BFWD.

Once the bacteria is eradicated by chlorination,  a normal water notice will be issued.

For two years, neighbouring Montrose underwent costly upgrades to its system after sample tests detected persistent low levels of total coliforms in 2011.

But the village, which also gets its water from the aquifer,  did not have a chlorination system, and held a boil water advisory until a new well was drilled and a chlorination facility project was completed in May.

The BFWD is a community waterworks system, 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.

The district won a silver medal in the 2010 annual Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting competition by sending untreated well water to West Virginia, home base of the contest.

For more information call 367-0255 or visit bfwd.org.

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