British Columbia

White Rock puts $13M toward treating arsenic in drinking water

White Rock’s mayor says the city is putting $13 million toward treating the manganese and arsenic found in the city’s water.

White Rock took control of its water supply from Edmonton-based company EPCOR in October, 2015

White Rock water is safe to drink, says Fraser Health despite concerns from residents about arsenic levels. (CBC)

White Rock is putting $13 million toward treating the manganese and arsenic found in the city's water, said mayor Wayne Baldwin.

Arsenic levels measured from three out of seven wells registered just under the limit set by Health Canada for drinking water, Fraser Health told CBC Tuesday. Fraser Health says Health Canada encourages cities to lower arsenic levels in drinking water as much as possible.

Baldwin says the city is working toward that goal.

"We're going to ask our consultants to take a look at those methods and come up with the one that works the best under our circumstances and with our water chemistry."

The Health Canada threshold for arsenic levels in drinking water is 0.01 milligrams per litre or lower.

Unlike other municipalities in Metro Vancouver, White Rock manages its own water supply.

Metro Vancouver water

Until recently, White Rock's water was managed by Edmonton-based company, EPCOR.

White Rock acquired the water system in October 2015, giving council the ability to connect the system to Metro Vancouver. But that move would cost $27 million and taking water from Metro Vancouver would cost  $1.5 million every year.

"If we had a situation where the water is was really bad, it would make some sense. But our water is good and therefore we don't think that makes any sense," said Baldwin.

He confirmed the city will implement chlorination as a secondary disinfection measure, to take care of potential microbial contamination, by June 2016, as recommended by Fraser Health.

To listen to the full interview, click the link labelled: White Rock Mayor responds to water concerns.


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