Municipality chlorinates water to combat bacteria; water still safe for all uses

Residents in the Maple Bay area may be able to taste or smell a bit of chlorine in their water, as the Municipality of North Cowichan works to get rid of a low grade bacterial count in the water supply.

There is no health risk to water users and tap water can continue to be used for all purposes, the municipality assured in a press release Friday.

“This is not that rare,” said Robert Bell, assistant operations manager for the municipality. “We try to avoid it at all costs but it is a luxury to run unchlorinated, and it’s sometimes truly unavoidable in order to keep the water safe.”

The low grade bacterial count was detected during regular monthly testing conducted by North Cowichan, where four to five water samples from around the municipality are tested each week. An April 28 sample tested with levels that required the addition of chlorine to the water in three reservoirs to bring it back to normal.

North Cowichan’s chlorine-free system is something that takes effort to maintain, said Bell. To that end, starting on Monday, May 12 the municipality will begin their routine annual maintenance flushing of the entire South End water system, which will include chlorinating the water. It will last for three to four weeks.