The owner of the Spardell Mobile Home Park in Sparwood has until Sept. 30 of this year to bring water lines at the park into compliance with directives from Interior Health on water quality.
Two weeks ago, residents were without running water for almost three days following a break in the lines, which are unable to hold pressure at levels high enough to avoid potential contamination from back-flow.
Responding to questions from The Free Press in the days after the loss of water, the owner and manager of the park, Rick Pater, said that he had no plans to replace the lines as it was too expensive, and that he was seeking alternate solutions.
Chris Russell, specialist environmental health officer with Interior Health, said the regional authority was not in the business of telling people how to provide potable and safe water, just that it had to be done.
“What we need is proper water pipe in the ground that can hold pressure,” said Russell.
Russell said any changes proposed by Pater would be reviewed by Interior Health, and if they were approved, “hopefully those changes would result in the outcome that we’re looking for – that everyone has water and at a suitable pressure.”
Half of the park was removed from a boil water notice in 2018 after Pater replaced the distribution lines in that part of the park, and then separated the two halves of the park to avoid contamination. Both sides of the park are on town water.
Russell said replacing the distribution systems for the remainder of the park “would be the ideal fix here, but what (Pater) is saying is that he’s not in a position to do that.”
There were other options available, however.
“He doesn’t have to rip the distribution system out of the ground, but he has to get it working properly so people have a safe supply of water,” said Russell.
Pater has previously told The Free Press that the water going into the park was indeed safe – something Russell agreed with.
“The water going in to the park is perfectly fine and potable, (but) what there is present is risk (due to low pressure), and that’s not acceptable.”
Inadequate water pressure leaves the supply vulnerable to back-flow, meaning water or liquids contaminated by use by residents can re-enter the lines.
“The risk is significant enough that we have that park subject to a boil water notice.”