City of White Rock staffer Sandra Kurylo addresses a small crowd in October to discuss changes to the water supply.

LETTERS: Flood of concern over chloramine

Editor:

Re: Water-utility purchase prompts more questions, Oct. 21.

Editor:

Re: Water-utility purchase prompts more questions, Oct. 21.

The pattern of governance by the mayor and council of White Rock has now been firmly established: Take as many decisions as possible behind-closed-doors, cut off public participation, then make decisions that defy logic.

The most egregious example is the current water fiasco. It is not only a classic case of concealing information, it is doubly reckless as the proposal to change from chlorine to chloramine flies in the face of current usage and science.

The Environmental Protection Agency of the U.S. notes 80 per cent of municipalities do not use chloramine.

The introduction of chloramine into our water system would pose an unacceptable health and environmental threat to the citizens of White Rock.

From the privatization of commercial and multi-family garbage pickup, to the proposed privatization of single-family garbage collection, to the wanton destruction of trees and shrubs in the name of stabilization of the seawall, the closed mindedness of the mayor and council is truly stunning in what we take to be a democratic society.

John Reed, White Rock

• • •

The lack of transparency coupled with the possible inadequate study of the best way to treat our water in White Rock is troubling. There is also the question as to whether it would be better to join the Vancouver system.

Several weeks ago, I submitted the following to the City of White Rock: “I am very concerned about the use of chloramine as it cannot easily be removed from water without charcoal filters. Chlorine can easily be removed by letting the water sit or by boiling. In describing chlorine, you state it can be ‘harmful to fish and other aquatic life,’ but under chloramine you state it can be ‘extremely harmful to fish and other aquatic life.’ Do you want to use this in your aquarium or on your plants?”

The reason the city has given for using chloramine is primarily aesthetic. It is my understanding that E. coli and giardia are better treated with chlorine.

More homework needs to be done.

Linda Brock, White Rock

• • •

What’s in your water? Ten things you need to know:

10. Soon, White Rock city council will declare which of chlorine or chloramine is to be added to our water.

9. Chloramine is most commonly formed by adding ammonia to chlorine… but don’t try this at home, folks.

8. According to reliable sources, chloraminated water can cause skin, respiratory and gastrointestinal problems.

7. Chlorine is the only disinfectant that has been extensively studied. No scientific analysis of the health impacts of chloramine have been concluded.

6. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency website states it doesn’t know if chloramine itself is carcinogenic; however, it adds, that of the disinfection byproducts – 200-plus – NDMA is a probable human carcinogen.

5. Chloramine in tap water is banned in Tennessee. Its use is being challenged in California and other states.

4. Chloramine is not as effective as chlorine at killing E. coli, according to the World Health Organization.

3. You can easily ‘gas off’ chlorine, but chloramine is difficult to remove and the vapours can accumulate in indoor air, especially shower stalls.

2. Aquarium tank? Chloramine kills salt- and fresh-water fish, koi, lobster, shrimp, frogs, turtles, snails, clams and coral. Orchids, African violets, bonsai? Don’t ask.

1. Who pays for removing the discharged chloramine –  an onerous task, indeed – before it hits the ocean?

Brian Morrish, White Rock

 

 

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