Filtration needed for Ashcroft water supply

A reader writes about why Ashcroft needs a new water treatment plant.

Dear Editor,

I wanted to take the time to acknowledge the Village of Ashcroft’s ongoing efforts to improve the community drinking water system. Interior Health is committed to working with local governments to provide clean, safe, and reliable tap water to protect public health.

This letter is intended to provide clarification on the requirement for water treatment and the applicable drinking water legislation for the Village of Ashcroft. The legislation that governs the Village of Ashcroft’s drinking water quality is the Drinking Water Protection Act (DWPA) and Drinking Water Protection Regulation (DWPR) of B.C.

The specific forms of disinfection and treatment that are required for surface water sources are outlined in the Provincial Drinking Water Treatment Objectives (Microbiological) for Surface Water Supplies in British Columbia (Treatment Objectives).

The Treatment Objectives are a supporting document of the DWPA, further explaining the requirements for water treatment. The requirements outlined in the Provincial Treatment Objectives are consistent with the federal Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality.

In order to be fully compliant, systems using surface water sources must provide the following: 4-log (99.99%) reduction of viruses; 3-log (99.9%) reduction of protozoa; two forms of treatment of surface water (filtration being one form if turbidity is above 1 NTU); less than or equal to 1 NTU turbidity level; and no detectable E. coli, fecal coliform, or total coliform.

These requirements are consistent with the conditions on the Village of Ashcroft’s permit, which have been in effect since 2004. Interior Health has worked with the village staff to identify solutions, and the proposed membrane filtration plant will meet the treatment requirements.

I am pleased to see that the village was successful in securing a grant under the New Building Canada Fund for Small Communities in the amount of $5,725,356, which will be put towards this project.

One of the most challenging aspects of water quality for the village has been turbidity. Turbidity levels are often above the 1 NTU limit, resulting in the village having to issue advisories for long periods throughout the year. High levels of turbidity can allow pathogens to survive disinfection, which is the reason why filtration is needed for the Village of Ashcroft.

The proposed membrane filtration method has proven to be very successful in many surrounding communities such as Kamloops, Clinton, Lillooet, Chase, and Sicamous. This treatment option will bring the Village of Ashcroft’s water system into full compliance with the DWPA and the Provincial Treatment Objectives. More importantly, it will provide the community with clean, safe, and reliable tap water.

Jessy Bhatti, CPHI (C)

Specialist Environmental

Health Officer

Kamloops

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