Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) has lifted the June 6 boil water advisory for the Town of Gibsons — but that doesn’t mean things are back to normal.
While staff continues to investigate the cause of E.coli contamination in the water system, the entire Town has been placed on the Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) water supply, Mayor Wayne Rowe said in a statement emailed to media about 11 a.m. Monday morning.
All properties within Gibsons will remain on SCRD water “until the Town’s own water source can once again be used,” Rowe said.
As well, due to the extra demand on the SCRD system, stage 3 water use restrictions are in effect immediately.
Stage 3 prohibits lawn sprinkling, washing vehicles, hosing windows or exterior building surfaces, and filling swimming pools, ornamental ponds or fountains.
Hand-held watering is allowed for trees, shrubs, flowers and vegetables.
Contacted Monday, chief administrative officer Mani Machado said businesses have not been asked to cut back on water use.
“We’ve just contacted (businesses) — we’ve got staff out there now — to tell them about the notice being lifted, especially food service places, but we haven’t given them any directions on water restrictions,” Machado said. “We’re hoping it will be short term.”
Machado said samples taken throughout the water distribution system have tested negative for E.coli since Sunday, June 8 — two days after the original positive results were confirmed by a second sample — but VCH directed the Town to go on to the SCRD water supply because the Town currently has no way to chlorinate its well water.
“Until we find the source of contamination,” he said, “the health authority advised us not to use our own supply.”
Also at VCH’s direction, the Town is conducting a full assessment of the Parkland reservoir, where the contamination was detected, and will install an emergency chlorination system at the source of the Town’s drinking water.
Machado said he expects the Town could be on the SCRD water supply for two to three weeks. A technical team will be in Gibsons on Tuesday, June 17, to scope out the work for emergency chlorination.
About 75 per cent of properties in Gibsons normally receive water from the municipal water system that is supplied by wells drawing from the Gibsons aquifer, which officials say is not contaminated.
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