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Longstanding boil-water notice in South Okanagan finally lifted

The regional district said chlorination work has been completed, allowing it to lift the boil water notice that’s been in place since February 2017. Global News

A longstanding boil-water notice has been lifted in the South Okanagan.

On Wednesday, the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen said chlorination upgrades to the Willowbrook water system have finally been completed.

The regional district said it installed a chlorinator and chlorine tank at the pump station, resulting in the end of a boil water notice that’s been in place since February 2017.

Read more: ‘It’s a disgrace’: Willowbrook, B.C. residents without drinking water for two years, no end in sight

It adds that the Willowbrook water system is located between Oliver and Okanagan Falls, and provides drinking and irrigation water to approximately 80 residents.

“Lifting the boil-water notice is welcome news for all Willowbrook residents,” said Michelle Weisheit, chair of Willowbrook water advisory committee.

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“We appreciate the time and effort that has gone into completing this project.”

“The improvements to the Willowbrook water system were completed with 100 per cent grant funding,” said Electoral Area C director Rick Knodel, adding the work will not result in any tax increases.

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The regional district said ownership of the Willowbrook water system was transferred from Willowbrook Utilities Ltd., in 2016.

It says the system’s water source is a groundwater well, which is pumped into a reservoir on a nearby property. From there, water is sent to a distribution system featuring 4.5 kilometres of pipe.

In an administrative report from Februrary 2019, the regional district said numerous deficiencies were identified in the system’s infrastructure, and that a master plan had been prepared to achieve current standards for drinking water.

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According to the regional district, the Willowbrook water system has been on a boil water notice since February 10, 2017, following a power outage.

The administrative report also said total coliform and background bacteria counts were being found sporadically.

Following an assessment by Interior, Health, the well and groundwater were at risk of containing pathogens, which meant disinfection measures were needed.

The regional district said the total cost to date has been $130,000, and that it expects to spend another $15,000 on minor improvements.

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