There are no water quality warnings or advisories currently in place for the Town of Lake Cowichan’s water supply, according to Tim McGonigle, the community’s acting mayor.
McGonigle wants to clear the air after misinformation was spreading through social media and the town that water advisories are in effect, or about to be implemented for the community, even though the town’s new approximately $6-million water treatment facility was recently completed.
“We are currently operating the water treatment plant under the terms and conditions of the Interim Operating Permit issued by Island Health,” McGonigle said in a message on the town’s Facebook page.
“We are moving towards the full commissioning of the facility, but COVID-19 has delayed the final commissioning process.”
McGonigle said there was a requirement for the town to install a soda ash injection system so that the water’s pH level, as established by the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality, is maintained at acceptable levels.
“There are no specific health effects on which to base limits for the pH of drinking water,” he said.
“The main purpose in controlling pH is to produce water in which corrosion and incrustation are minimized.”
McGonigle said that while the construction of the plant is complete and it is operational, the town is currently treating the water supply with direct filtration, chlorine, and ultraviolet disinfection, and soon will be adding soda ash.
“While continuing to monitor and test the quality of the supply with our certified operators, the intent is to move forward with upgrading training opportunities to the levels required by the Environmental Operations Certificate Program and Island Health for the treatment and distribution of water,” he said.
“The next step is for our public works department to determine the right amount of soda ash to add to the water before and after the commissioning phase. Adjustments to the system will be required for a period of time to stabilize the pH levels.”