CVRD looking at algae bloom as source of water complaints
Goat News file photo of Comox Lake from March 6, 2018. Photo by James Wood/98.9 The Goat/Vista Radio
COURTENAY, B.C- A metallic taste and smell to drinking water in the Valley could be from algae in Comox Lake.
According to the Comox Valley Regional District’s Water Manager, Mike Herschmiller, complaints about the water began coming in last Tuesday, with calls still being received as of today.
There was no particular cluster of complaints, with reports coming in from across the water system. Testing conducted by the CVRD at multiple points has found no rise in harmful bacteria, or elevated levels of metals. Herschmiller also said that complaints have been dropping.
“Water samples have been taken throughout the system and tests confirm there are no harmful bacteria or metals present in our water supply,” read a notice from the CVRD’s website, posted on Monday.
“In addition, chlorine residuals, turbidity and pH results remain normal. Island Health and CVRD are in agreement that the ‘taste and odour’ we are experiencing does not pose a health risk.”
Both Herschmiller and the notice raised the idea of algae being the source of the problem.
“When temperatures fluctuate rapidly, the potential for algae blooming in our lakes and rivers increases,” read the notice.
“The source water for the Comox Valley Water system is Comox Lake and our water intake draws water from the Puntledge River. In an effort to identify the source of the taste/odour complaints, we have taken samples for algae in both the lake and the river. Samples will take 10-14 days to be processed. It is possible that algae could alter the odour or taste of the water. The CVRD will report results of this algae sampling as they are available. In the meantime, regular sampling of our water is standard practice and will continue.”
The water emergency line can be reached at 1-877-999-2285. The CVRD asked anyone making a complaint to use the line and provide their exact location so the source of any complaints can be accurately tracked.