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Popular Sproat Lake spring used by travellers ‘contaminated’: ACRD

Regional district director says bacterial readings are highest she’s seen in 15 years
A photo from Taylor Arm on Sproat Lake. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)

A popular spring water source at Sproat Lake is contaminated, according to Sproat Lake’s regional director.

Penny Cote, director for the Sproat Lake area, told the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District (ACRD) board during a meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 8 that a “very well-used” source of spring water along Highway 4 at the end of Taylor Arm was recently tested and showed high levels of coliform bacteria.

Cote explained that as a volunteer with the Sproat Lake Community Association she has been doing water tests there for the past 15 years and this is the worst reading she has ever seen. The test showed there were 170 total coliforms in the water sample and Cote says she is “concerned” about the results (she did not mention the sample size).

“Many people on the west coast use that water,” she explained. “It’s just a pipe that comes out of the side of the hill to the ditch where many people get their water. This is a raw water source and people need to take measures to make sure that they are protecting themselves from drinking water that shouldn’t be consumed.”

Cote explained that people from Tofino, Ucluelet and the Alberni Valley all stop there to fill up their water containers.

“There’s literally a lineup of people waiting to get at that hose to get the water,” she said.

Daniel Sailland, the ACRD’s CAO, said staff are planning to put up a sign near the water source to warn people about the test results. He said that the results could be caused by “a number” of things.

“There could be a dead animal or something along the water source which would cause that,” he said. “It’s not that it’s permanent contamination, it could be a flash in the pan, but we should at least put up a sign so people are aware there are risks to taking untreated water from the side of the road.”

Elena Rardon

About the Author: Elena Rardon

I have worked with the Alberni Valley News since 2016.
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