Thursday, May 5, 2016 


Local News

So, Why Did Chilliwack Bow Out of the Tap Water Contest?

Because the City changed its policy

Staff/Voice file photo Glen McPherson


n Tuesday, the 3rd Annual “Best of the Best” BC Tap Water Taste Test took place in Whistler.


The Upper Fraser Valley has dominated the competition since its inception. And true to form, the District of Hope took home first place honours.


The Voice wanted our readers to know how Chilliwack placed and inquired, but were told the City wasn't there this year.


"With regards to Chilliwack specifically, they withdrew their entry into the competition late last week," Kristen Learned, an Associate Consultant with FleishmanHillard told The Voice Tuesday.


Was something wrong with Chilliwack's tap water supply? Curious about why the City suddenly withdrew their entry just before the contest was set to begin, we asked. 


On Wednesday, Glen MacPherson, Director of Operations, responded saying they couldn't comply with some of the rules and laid out why, stating that some of the requirements in the competition were "inadvisable to comply with".


The water samples municipalities provide are judged on things like smoothness, appearance, aroma, taste, mouth feel, aftertaste, and overall impression.


Granted, some of the rules are silly, like "mouth feel". How does that water feel in your mouth? Wet? Regarding "appearance", how does it look? Clear, or is it dark? If it looks murky, fire the City Manager and get a new one.


But seriously, why couldn't Chilliwack do what all the other municipalities managed to do?


According to McPherson, there were a couple of big reasons.


"Firstly there was a requirement to take the water sample from an end users (customers) tap. Operationally when collecting samples for water taste and quality checks the City avoids using a household tap for several reasons including the fact that old internal pipes in a private house can sometimes cause taste issues due to internal corrosion but more importantly water quality cannot be guaranteed once the water leaves the municipal water main and enters a private plumbing system," explained McPherson.


"We also could not guarantee that any faucet in a private residence used to collect a sample is sterile/sanitary, and this raises water quality concerns for us. There was also a stipulation that water samples could not be put on ice and must be at room temperature. As part of our water quality assurance program, it is the City’s operational practice, that any water samples collected are immediately placed on ice to preserve the water quality/integrity."


McPherson said they were worried about how good the water would be by the time the contest began.


"Had we collected samples on a Friday, the water would have had to sit at room temperature for almost 5 days prior to being sampled at the competition venue. With water quality being our primary concern the decision was made to not enter a water sample this year," McPherson concluded.


Some of the contest rules were inane, but the City's excuses were lame, so it balances out. Chilliwack loses by default.


Related link

Hope Wins in Best of the Best - May 3, 2016




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