Creeks are running high as the mid-elevations run off, and recent precipitation has added to volume. As water runs faster, its turbidity increases as small particles are churned up. It is not uncommon at this time of year to note the water coming from your tap has a slightly cloudy appearance.
Higher turbidity levels can lead to health risks as disease and bacteria can be carried on the particulate matter.
The City of Kimberley, in accordance with Interior Health regulations, keeps an eye on turbidity levels and issues appropriate warnings as necessary.
The first thing done in the onset of the freshet is to switch those supplied by the Matthew Creek water supply over to the Mark Creek supply, which tends to have fewer turbidity issues. However, Kimberley Golf Course, Riverside Campground, River Bend Lane, River Bend Road, River Ridge Way, Sunflower Drive and Tamarack Lane areas are not on Mark Creek Water. A Boil Water Notice has been issued for those areas as turbidity continues to be an issue. Testing shows that current water quality is poor due to increased turbidity or cloudiness.
As for the rest of Kimberley, turbidity is listed as Fair, but the City has issued a Water Quality Advisory. This is not a boil water order but it is suggested that children, the elderly, people with weakened immune systems and anyone seeking additional protection drink boiled water or a safe alternative. For these at-risk populations, water intended for drinking, washing fruits and vegetables, making juice or ice, or brushing teeth should be boiled for one minute. Boiled water should then be refrigerated in a clean, covered container. Customers could also choose to use bottled or distilled water, or water that has been filtered through a well-maintained treatment device.
Health risks increase as turbidity rises, particularly for at-risk population such as newborns, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems. Contaminants such as viruses, bacteria and parasites can attach themselves to the suspended particles in turbid water. These particles can then interfere with disinfection, limiting chlorine’s ability to remove or inactivate the contaminants. Current turbidity levels exceed the 1 NTU standard recommended in the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality.
The City tests turbidity regularly and any changes will be made immediately available on the City website at 222.city.kimberley.bc.ca