Mayor: Ukee drinking water safe

During Tuesday night’s council meeting, Ucluelet Mayor Bill Irving said the district’s water is safe to drink and efforts are being made to figure out why some residents are having issues with discoloured water.

He spoke to a presentation council received on Jan. 15 from a group of Marine Drive residents who brought jars of the yellow, brown, and black water that occasionally, and without warning, flows into their laundry machines, bathtubs, and drinking glasses.

“We had some bottles of dirty water on our front table here and we asked staff to do something about it,” Irving said. “We also recently received an email expressing similar concerns so I asked staff for a quick report follow-up.”

He was provided with this report and read it aloud during Tuesday’s meeting.

“Immediately following the (Jan.15) presentation and the direction from council to try to

pinpoint what the problem was there on Marine Drive, the district began flushing the hydrant closest to that facility every Tuesday,” Irving said adding the area’s water mains have also been flushed “much more aggressively” than usual.

Ucluelet’s water is tested daily to ensure disinfectant levels are adequate and samples are shipped to an independent lab in Courtenay on a weekly basis to be tested for bacteria, according to Irving.

“All samples have come back negative for bacteria,” he said. “Samples are taken at the highway reservoir, public works yard, Helen Road lift station and there’s a continuous online monitoring system at the Bay Street water treatment centre so significant sampling occurs in the community.”

He said the district is focused on finding the root of Marine Drive’s water discolouration problem to determine how it can be fixed.

“We just want to ensure that the community knows that we’re very vigorous in the testing of the water and the problem that has occurred on Marine Drive we’re very interested in and focusing on what the problem is and then what the solution would be,” he said. “I know it’s quite a distressing thing for those people and we are taking it very seriously.”

Coun. Geoff Lyons acknowledged local reports that the discoloured water is ruining linens and upsetting tourists staying at Marine Drive’s accommodations.

“Whilst I have every confidence, and have ever since I’ve been here, that the water is potable and fully acceptable, it still leaves the issue of the looks of the water,” he said.

reporter@westerlynews. ca