COURTENAY, B.C- The boil water notice for the Comox Valley is still on.

It was announced yesterday for all users of the Comox Valley Regional District’s (CVRD) water system, who are now instructed to boil their drinking water for one minute prior to use.

According to the CVRD, operations staff are working to get the notice lifted as soon as possible, in conjunction with Island Health.

The decision about lifting the notice depends on multiple factors, including current river conditions and sampling in the CVRD system.

The notice is due to a shutdown of BC Hydro’s penstock on the Puntledge River until January 5th, in order to complete improvements to their diversion dam fish screens, which has to be done this month.

The work was originally meant for December, but was postponed to give more flexibility for flood mitigation. The district has now had to use their backup pump station downstream from the Hydro generating station, where water quality can be poorer during wet weather.

Turbidity levels rose above acceptable thresholds due to recent severe rainfall, triggering the notice.

According to Courtenay mayor and CVRD board chair Bob Wells, residents can still use the tap water to shower and brush their teeth, but if it’s going to be used for drinking it should be boiled.

“Just so people are clear, this is really just a result of maintenance that is happening, and it’s one of the reasons that we wanted to move to our own water treatment facility,” said Wells.

“Once our water treatment project is complete, this type of boil water will no longer happen.”

The completion time of the BC Hydro work will also be a factor in the boil water notice getting lifted.