Creeks are running high with the spring freshet, and the City of Kimberley often issues water quality advisories and notices at this time, in accordance with Interior Health regulations, as turbidity in the water increases.
The first such advisory was issued on Tuesday morning as Tuesday’s turbidity reading rose to 1.4 NTU, which indicates that water quality is fair.
Interior Health has the following ratings for turbidity levels:
GOOD – 0 to 1 NTU FAIR – 1 to 5 NTU POOR – 5 NTU and above
Health risks increase as turbidity rises, particularly for at-risk populations such as newborns, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems. Contaminants such as viruses, bacteria and parasites can attach themselves to the suspended particles in turbid water. These particles can then interfere with disinfection, limiting chlorine’s ability to remove or inactivate the contaminants. Current turbidity levels exceed the 1 NTU standard recommended in the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality.
A reading of 1.4 merits a water quality advisory, which means that IH and the City recommend that children, the elderly, people with weakened immune systems and anyone seeking additional protection drink boiled water or a safe alternative. For these at-risk populations, water intended for drinking, washing fruits and vegetables, making juice or ice, or brushing teeth should be boiled for one minute. Boiled water should then be refrigerated in a clean, covered container. Customers could also choose to use bottled or distilled water, or water that has been filtered through a well-maintained treatment device. Owners of public facilities must post Water Quality Advisories at all sinks or drinking water fountains accessible to the public (alternatively, public fountains and taps may be turned off). As opportunities arise, they must also advise their clientele verbally of the Water Quality Advisory.