Boil Water Advisory

BOIL WATER ADVISORY 

What does that mean?  Total coliform testing is used to indicate changes in water quality (or growth of organisms) as well as the potential for the presence of more dangerous viruses/bacteria.  We use chlorine to disinfect our water from dangerous pathogens, but in the warmer months of the year, we struggle with turbidity (large and small/microscopic ‘particles’ in the water).  Excess turbidity has a negative impact on the effectiveness of chlorine.  The more turbidity, the more chlorine is needed to effectively disinfect the water.  There comes a point where we cannot safely add enough chlorine to keep up with the level of turbidity.

This, coupled with peak demand in the summer (during a period of less-than-ideal water conditions), is what often causes a boil water advisory.  That is one of many reasons why the GBID issues watering restrictions at the beginning of the summer (see Conserving Water/Summer Lawn and Garden Watering Restrictions – May Express Lines).

The only permanent solution is a filtration system to address our water quality issues.  This has been discussed and presented at many of our meetings.  The GBID is currently pilot testing a slow sand filter.  We urge all concerned rate-payers to attend meetings, in order to stay informed of our water quality concerns and other important matters relating to the water system.

What can you do to help? 

Conserve water – especially during hot, dry weather.  Excess water use only compounds the problem.  Conservation will reduce demand on the source, reduce the volume of water (and turbidity) entering the intake at the lake, reduce flow through the lines which creates more turbidity, and ultimately, reduce the total amount of turbidity in the water that impairs our chlorination efforts.

Attend meetings – the GBID has never published as much information, through as many channels, as it does today.  However, the best source of current information is still our meetings.  This gives rate-payers a chance to hear what the GBID is doing, ask questions, and engage the decision-makers that are elected to act on their behalf.

What is the GBID doing?

The GBID has been pilot testing a filtration system (slow sand) to remove the organics that occur naturally in our water. We are also creating a water master plan, with an engineering firm (Kerr Wood Leidal) that will create a road-map for priority projects like this.

In the mean time, we are continually testing, flushing and monitoring water quality to ensure that our drinking water is of the best possible quality. Our dedicated staff work hard to keep our community informed and notifications are sent out immediately, through multiple channels, during periods of less-than-ideal water quality. Until we have a filtration system installed boil water advisories will continue to be a relatively predictable occurrence in the hot, dry months of summer time.

For those of you who have been attending our meetings, you will be well aware of our efforts to research and pilot test a permanent solution to this problem.  Our lake is a unique and wildlife-abundant natural habitat that we must work with through all of its seasons.  It is affected by weather, wildlife and environmental factors.  If you would like to learn more, please contact us directly at 604-223-7757 or info@gillies-bay.ca. Residents are always welcome at our meetings. Our annual meeting schedule can be viewed here.