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Keats Island Leaseholders
Water system Update 14July05
The Convention's Consultant has advised that arsenic levels in our well water, which occurs naturally in this area, continue to exceed the current Canadaian drinking water standards. The Convention's Consultant has consulted with the medical health officer to assess the risks. The health officer has advised that:

"There is no health risk associated with washing, brushing teeth or short term consumption. However we are advising you to not drink the water."

If you would like further information you can contact the local Drinking Water Officer, Tim Adams 604 885-5600 or the Medical Health Officer, Dr Paul Martiquet 604 886-5600. Additional information about arsenic in water is also available at the Health Canada Website:

Based on the consultants recommendation, the camp recently installed a pilot (test run)point-of-use-treatment system for drinking water at the new dining / kitchen facility. This is the smae technology that is currently planned for the overall DL 696 system. The pilot system is removing arsenic above expectations.

The plans for installing a permanent treatment system to treat all the water for the Leaseholders and the Camp are complete and will be going to tender next week. Subject to the quotes, availability of equipment and Contractors, it is anticipated that work will be underway by early fall. You will be kept appraised of progress. If you have any questions, please contact a member of the Leaseholders Executive.

Eastbourne Water system
Please remember to conserve water at all times.
The surface wells of Eastbourne are producing less water
each day as the summer progresses.
Please call the numbers below to report a problem,
or if you have questions regarding the water system:

Pager 503-730-9133
Scott Benson 604-212-2058
Evelyn Benson 604-740-6093
WDS Contracting 604-886-1980
Chuck Steamers SCRD 604-885-2261

Water Update
June 2004
New wells drilled:
Unfortunately this new well is dry.
(Even with the extra effort by the contractor to
go further to 325 feet... Thanks for trying! :-)

East Well
This new well has proven itself to 2.6 gpm at 165 feet.
It is set up to happily deliver good water at 2.4 gpm.
<> Water meters /etc being installed:
Last checked this project was still underway.

Chuck Steamers SCRD  (604) 687-5753  or  (604) 885-2261

WDS contracting  (604) 740-9133  or  (604) 886-1980

Barnabas Area
June 2004

New wells have also been drilled around and near the Barnabas Area.

Water Update
January 2002

Your Water Committee is well on its way in its pursuit of a tax based Sunshine Coast Regional District managed water system for Eastbourne. Following the last Annual General Meeting at which time your executive received unqualified reconfirmation of its mandate to pursue a tax based system, numerous meetings have been held between the Water Committee and District staff. Our facilities have been viewed and assessed and the District has hired the services of a Sechelt engineering consulting firm to assist them. The District Infrastructure Services Committee headed by Steve Lee will be making a report in the near future to the SCRD elected officials recommending how this initiative should move forward.

Preliminary indications are that the system will be unlike any other in the district in that it will be designed specifically for Eastbourne, where growth potential is limited by virtue of the number of lots in the area. Consequently there is no requirement to over-engineer or oversize distribution lines in anticipation of future growth. The SCRD is very cognizant of our desire to protect the environment and quiet beauty of our island. The system will rely on distributed storage, i.e. your own storage tanks, as we have been advocating for the past decade. The first concern and order of business when the SCRD takes over will be to put in place a purification system thus avoiding the problems experienced last year in Walkerton, Ontario. The SCRD intends to have an on-island water custodian who will manage the system on a day-to-day basis in much the same manner as Ted Romanovich is doing currently.

Once the engineering study has been completed and the elected officials agree to the recommendations put forward, a plebiscite will take place at which time all property owners will be contacted and will be given the opportunity to approve the system. Full particulars as to design, cost, financing etc will be made known. For the time being, periodic reports will continue to be posted on the “official” (back) side of the bulletin board as in the past.

In the interim, boil your water, clean your tanks and conserve water as always.

J.H. Low

Water Committee

Melody Point
Winning the Water Wars
With a 400FT deep well

A good water supply is so important in any community whether it is a city or a small island location. The politics of water - supply, delivery, purity and management are issues that are frequently discussed in the media and in community meetings. The Walkerton, Ontario water crisis which resulted in a number of deaths has raised public awareness of the need for careful monitoring of water and has emphasized for both provincial and local governments the need for the development of water purity legislation and controls.

With the clamour for water purity and the need for careful monitoring, members of island communities and particularly those members who have accepted responsibility to manage these systems are facing some new choices. Traditionally, island communities have developed water systems that have started out simply and sometimes crudely. Individual supply systems have been joined and safer and more abundant sources have been found to create systems that provide adequate water over the dry summer. However most of these systems have been owned and managed by community members with limited technical or health experience and have only sometimes been monitored for purity.

The Walkerton situation and several other contaminated water circumstances have caused most provincial governments including our own to introduce new legislation that may well end the independently controlled small community systems.

In British Columbia, the NDP government introduced a new water act that more clearly defined how communities were required to manage their water systems and how they were required to deal with any impurities.This act was passed butnot proclaimed. The Liberal government is reviewing this legislation and some suggest they will make it more stringent. It is expected that the Liberals new Water Act will be in effect within a year.

The key changes in the new act will be to raise standards for purity and to increase government supervision particularly of the many unsupervised small systems that have quietly functioned on their own. Typically, these systems will come under the supervision of a regional district’s health department. There will likely be a hardening of standards both in terms of the design of the systems and the response to any contamination. A key fear of those involved in managing these systems that they would have to be rebuilt to meet “city” standards appears to not be an issue but they may have to be modified to improve safety.

Again, in light of the Walkerton situation, an issue has arisen that for most islanders has not really been considered in the past, that is, liability for illness or even death caused by impure water. Generally there has been a denial response to the possibility of serious illness and even if that did occur that legal action could result. From what has occurred elsewhere in Canada, both position appear naïve. There seems to now be some question as to who would be held legally responsible for illness cause by impure water: the community, the management employees or volunteers or the individual homeowner. In a community run and supervised system, all parties need to consider their vulnerability to legal action.

However in a provincially supervised water system the legislation sets the legal standards for monitoring and for healthy water and, assuming these standards are being met by the community system, the provincial government becomes liable in most situations. According to our legal advice, the best protection from the liability that might exist is to come under the supervision of the local health board. However, to achieve this protection, each community must work with the health officer to find ways to meet the standards established by legislation.

A further option to reduce liability especially when there are difficult to remove contaminates in the water is through a community agreement to disclaim liability for the water if it is used for drinking. Following a clear statement of any unhealthy contaminates found through testing, the community disclaims responsibility for the use of the water for drinking. Your members then accept the risks in using the water for drinking and thereby accept the responsibility to purchase the equipment that is required to overcome any health problems for their own building or choose to use bottled water for drinking. There are problems regarding non-consenting visitor and children. Obviously, it is important to seek legal advice before attempting this procedure.

One such pollutant that affects most water in our area is arsenic. As a dissolved element, it cannot be removed by filtering and must be removed through a chemical or electronic process which is typically more difficult and expensive than filtering. (bonds with iron?) The old limit for arsenic was .25 ppm which, for many communities whose test readings were fairly close to that, was seen to be tolerable. However medical research and pressure from insurers has established a new international standard of .10 ppm. Where a community may have tolerated arsenic levels that might be reasonably close to the old standard, the new one creates both health and liability issues for many small systems.

We hope that the above may encourage discussion in communities and where needed action plans. We also hope that you will respond with any useful experience or ideas that can be passed on to other Keats Islanders as they consider their own direction.


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