A safe and adequate water supply is fundamental to the health of every individual and important to the economic growth and well being of communities. Environmental Health Officers (EHO) with Island Health (IH) routinely inspect, sample and assess community water systems for the purpose of protecting the public’s health and for monitoring compliance with the Drinking Water Protection Act (DWPA) and Drinking Water Protection Regulation (DWPR).
In BC all Environmental Health Protection Services on First Nations lands are conducted through First Nations Health Authority (FNHA). FNHA has its own Drinking Water Program, Medical Health Officers, Environmental Contaminants Program, Risk Assessment Program and other programs paralleling Regional Health Authorities such as Island Health.
Under certain situations the Drinking Water Officer can require owners of water systems to issue public advisories to the water system users. There are several types of public advisories that can be issued. The type of advisory issued is dependent on the specific risk. These types of advisories include
1. Boil Water Notice; often associated with a microbiological threat or failure in the water system treatment process.
2. Water Quality Advisory; there is some level of risk associated with water use but circumstances do not warrant a Boil Water Notice or Do Not Use Water Notice. An example would be elevated turbidity in the water but disinfection is still effective.
3. Do Not Use the Water Notice; this type of notice is very rare and is intended for situations where the water is contaminated to the point where it is not even safe for basic household purposes such as showering. These advisories are often associated with mass chemical spills where the chemical has entered the water distribution system.
In all case where advisories are issued the advisory will not be rescinded until the Drinking Water Officer is satisfied that the water is once more safe to drink.
Hazard ratings given to water systems are associated with the system’s ability to meet current construction, maintenance and operational standards. This rating is based on compliance with the most recent inspection, and factors specific to the system including the use of a multi-barrier approach to prevent or reduce the risk of contamination of the system.
For example; a high hazard rating may be given to a water system that has an inadequate treatment system. Conversely, a low hazard rating may be given to a system that has no system deficiencies.
Important Information about Water System Reports
Please note that water systems and water sources are subject to change. Updated information is posted to this site as often as possible, and this site may not reflect recent changes made to correct the hazards identified or identify any new hazards that may have occurred subsequent to the time of the last inspection.
Visitors to this site are cautioned against interpreting the status of a particular facility based on only one report. For additional information regarding any water system please contact your local Health Unit office.
The Hazard Rating represents the relative level or degree of hazard of the water system as determined by the EHO for a particular inspection. It is normally the sum total of all violations identified at the inspection. However, an EHO may alter the Rating depending on the seriousness of the noted condition(s).
In general, the Hazard Rating describes the condition of a water system at the time of inspection as follows:
Low: The water system was found to be in general compliance with the Drinking Water Protection Act and Regulation. No significant problems or presence of hazards were identified.
Moderate: The water system was found to be in general compliance with the Drinking Water Protection Act and Regulation. However, some issues related to the operation of the water system were identified that require correction in order to ensure long-term protection of public health. This category may include water systems that do not have a source water protection plan or do not use multiple barriers of treatment and disinfection in accordance with VIHA Policy 3.3, Drinking Water Treatment for Surface Water Supplies.
High: Significant problems were noted relating to the safety of the water and /or the maintenance and operation of the water system. The water system is not in compliance with the Drinking Water Protection Act and Regulation. A high hazard rating may be accompanied by a Boil Water Notice or other notification if it is determined that the microbiological quality of the water is unsafe or there are potential and significant risks that the water is susceptible to microbiological contamination. A high hazard may also be attributed to unacceptable concentrations of chemicals in the water or malfunctioning or inadequate treatment facilities.