Saturday, March 9, 2013


FHA News

Time to Wake Up and Smell the Water

Chlorination means E. coli-free water

Released by Dr. Paul Van Buynder, Chief Medical Health Officer and Vice-President Public Health, Fraser Health/Voice file photo


Dr. Paul Buynder explains FHA's position on why Chilliwack water needs chlorination at a public forum last month.


s Chief Medical Health Officer for Fraser Health, I have a legislated responsibility to uphold the B.C. Drinking Water Protection Act and ensure that the residents of Fraser Health have access to safe drinking water.


Over the years, Chilliwack's water system has been compromised on many occasions resulting in fecal coliform and E. coli bacteria entering the distribution system. After a review of the relevant data and conversations with Public Works staff at the City of Chilliwack, it is my assessment that ongoing secondary disinfection of the water supply system with chlorine or an equivalent compound is necessary to ensure a safe drinking water supply.

I want to thank City of Chilliwack staff for their thorough response to last week's positive E. coli test result. Their efforts to provide rapid emergency chlorination, shut down valves to contain the contamination, and work long hours to provide Fraser Health with a detailed report of the possible cause of contamination was exemplary.

The information provided confirmed vulnerabilities in the system including a number of residences with dual systems and without backflow prevention. These potential pathways by which pathogens can enter the distribution system was the reason for the initial concerns of Fraser Health.

In order to ensure the highest degree of confidence in the safety of the drinking water system, Fraser Health has issued formal notice under the Drinking water Protection Act that, effective immediately, the City of Chilliwack is required to provide secondary disinfection to its water supply in order to maintain a disinfection residual in the water distribution system.

I recognize that the outcome is not what many of Chilliwack residents had hoped for, but given the system vulnerabilities, no other option meets required drinking water safety standards.

For more information, visit here.



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