New UV treatment to reduce Comox Valley boil water advisories by 80 per cent

Temporary system expected to be operational by February 2018

Those pesky Comox Valley boil water orders?

This should be the last winter residents will have to deal with a steady stream of them.

The Comox Valley Regional District is moving forward with the installation of temporary ultraviolet (UV) treatment that is expected to reduce boil water notices by approximately 80 per cent.

The UV system will be operational in February 2018 and is considered an interim measure until the new water treatment plant is built. Once the plant is operational in 2021, turbidity related boil water notices will be eliminated completely. The UV treatment system and installation are estimated to cost under $1 million. The equipment can be moved to the new water treatment facility, once it is constructed, for additional cost savings.

“Practically speaking, the installation of the UV equipment will significantly reduce boil water notices and address the most disruptive impacts on residents and businesses,” said director Bob Wells, chair of the CVRD water committee. “For example, the most recent boil water notice would not have been necessary if this system had been in place. But this is only the first step in our long-term plan to ensure a safe, reliable source of drinking water for decades to come.”

The CVRD worked co-operatively with Island Health to identify this temporary solution that will further safeguard public health by providing the required disinfection to continuously protect against protozoa (parasites).

By adding UV to the existing chlorination process, Island Health is able to increase the allowable turbidity limit for these notices from 1.0 nephelometric turbidity unit (NTU) up to 3.0 NTU as the community awaits the construction of the new water treatment plant.

More than 80 per cent of boil water notices in recent years have been within this range. The new water treatment plant, once it is constructed, will add filtration as an additional barrier to meet provincial drinking water guidelines and eliminate turbidity related boil water notices completely.

To update the public on the current challenges and plan ahead, new information is available at the project’s webpage – including four short videos that help to summarize the project and why it is needed.

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