Hedley, B.C. residents have been without safe tap water for a week
Hundreds of people serviced by the Hedley Improvement District (HID) water system have been without tap water for one week due to a “do not consume” order issued by Interior Health (IH).
The advisory started on Dec. 7 at 8:00 a.m. due to significant levels of coliform and elevated levels of arsenic discovered in the water and remained in place as of Sunday afternoon.
“Water is unsafe due to an unacceptably high amount of disease-producing organisms such as viruses and bacteria,” said the advisory posted online.
“Water samples failed testing and show there could be germs in the water that can make you sick.”
It also says residents cannot make the water safe by boiling it.
WATCH BELOW: (Aired Dec. 10, 2018) ‘They dropped the ball’: Some Hedley residents drank unsafe water unaware of ‘do not consume’ order
Travis Barck, the Hedley Improvement District’s chief water operator, said the district super chlorinated the water but he is still waiting for the ‘OK’ from IH.
“Because Interior Health is the one that dictates that Hedley can consume their water again, we can’t issue a consume water notice or revoke the do not consume notice at this time,” he said.
Barck said water samples taken last Monday and Tuesday were sent to the lab for testing and the first results came back as a “pass,” but the district is still waiting on the second set of results.
He said the HID is hopeful the arsenic water advisory issued in July can also be rescinded.
“It’s within the bedrock that the well level is present in and reaches, so during our freshet we had an elevated level, we had to put out the advisory concerning arsenic in the water,” Barck said.
“We’ve been monitoring it more than what has been mandated by Interior Health on a monthly basis.”
WATCH ABOVE: (Aired Dec. 09, 2018) ‘Do not consume’ notice issued for Hedley tap water
Karl Hardt, communications consultant with Interior Health, said the health authority will have a better idea of when the advisory may be rescinded by early this week.
“We haven’t received the two sets of samples (24 hours apart) that we need to consider rescinding the advisory,” Hardt said on Friday just before 5:00 p.m.
“We do know that the Arsenic is still above the accepted concentration.”
Barck said the town’s water infrastructure needs to be upgraded but with a tax base of only 250 residents, funding is a challenge.
“I think with many small towns in B.C. the funding just isn’t there to update the system,” he said.
-With files from Jules Knox
© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.