Dirty White Rock tap water ‘absolutely disgusting’

Resident Derek Sigurdson says water quality ‘unacceptable’ in this day and time

A resident on the west side of White Rock says he’s struggling to write a letter to the city that will properly express his dismay over the dirty water that came from his household taps Monday morning.

Derek Sigurdson, who lives on Coldicutt Avenue, was leaving his house on his way to work when he was stopped by a neighbour carrying a glass of brown water.

“He said, ‘does your water look like this?’” Sigurdson told Peace Arch News. “I said no and he said, ‘I think you’d better check.’”

When Sigurdson ran his taps, what he saw was enough to make him take pictures and video (www.peacearchnews.com) of what was running into his sink.

“It was absolutely disgusting – it looked like coffee,” he said. “We’ve experienced turbidity in the water before… but this is the worst I’ve seen it.”

Sigurdson said others in his neighbourhood have experienced similar problems, and noted he has heard that their water comes from the Oxford reservoir, where city leaders have said chloramination of city water in combination with manganese seems to be resulting in a number of cases of severe water discoloration.

The city is currently studying the most effective way to disinfect White Rock’s water and has earmarked $14.2 million to build facilities that will treat naturally occurring arsenic and manganese in the water, due to be completed in 2019.

Whatever the reasons for the colour, Sigurdson says it can’t be tolerated.

“It’s not acceptable in this day and time, with the taxes we pay, that we should have this kind of water. Mayor (Wayne) Baldwin says it’s safe to drink – I went out and bought bottled water for my dog to drink. I wouldn’t give anyone (this) water.”

Ironically, Sigurdson said, the same morning he received a letter from the city advising residents that the water system will be flushed between June 12 and 16.

“If this is before flushing, what’s going to happen when they start flushing?”

He said that after leaving taps running and frequently flushing toilets, the problem disappeared – for now – but that he’s also concerned sediment from the water can get caught in fridge filters, toilet reservoirs and water heating systems.

“Who pays for that stuff if it needs to be replaced? I’m sure the city isn’t going to pay for that,” he said.

“And we’re healthy people – but what if you have a compromised immune system?

“Making our water clear from an aesthetic standpoint is only part of it – we have major issues, including aging infrastructure, and the arsenic and manganese, and the issue of chlorination and chloramination and the hazards of that. The story goes on and on.

“I’ve been trying to formulate an email to the city that isn’t angry, or long and rambling – I usually have a 24-hour rule about that.”

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