Update: Thornhill residents advised to continue to boil water

Advisory to remain in effect until negative results for total coliforms are found multiple times

Despite negative total coliform lab results, the Boil Water Advisory remains in effect until a single sampling location can be confirmed safe thorugh multiple samplings, reported the regional district late in the day Oct. 19.

The next set of results is expected tomorrow, Oct. 20.

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Residents continue to be advised to follow the Boil Water Notice issued on October 10 if they are connected to the Thornhill Community Water System, including the Lower Thornhill, Upper Thornhill, Queensway and Copper Mountain areas.

“Regional district staff have disinfected the main domestic water storage facilities, flushed the lower and upper distribution systems and continue to test the water quality in the system,” said the regional district’s release.

A Water Quality Advisory was posted Oct. 10 and followed a few hours later by a Boil Water Notice. The district announced Oct. 13 it had completed disinfection of the main reservoir and lower system flushing and was disinfecting the Woodlands reservoirs and upper system flushing that same day.

“Recent laboratory testing now indicates the presence of Total Coliform Bacteria in a single area of the lower system. Total coliforms are a group of naturally occurring bacteria and viruses commonly found in the environment. They occur naturally in soil or vegetation, as well as mammals, including humans. Total coliform bacteria are not likely to cause illness, although their presence indicates a water supply may be vulnerable to impacts by more harmful microorganisms,” continued the regional district release.

Roger Tooms, manager works and services, said the cause of the bacteria wasn’t known but there would be another round of flushing and lab results were expected by the end of this week.

He said he hadn’t received any calls from anyone who said they had become sick from the water; several people in the community had posted to social media that they had become ill, with severe diarhea, but that cannot be connected to the water contamination at this time.

Eryn Collins, communications officer for Northern Health, said that since the boil water notice was a precautionary step, that Northern Health was not expecting residents to experience any symptoms related to the ingestion of drinking water.

She said Northern Health and the regional district were working together collecting, testing and analyzing water samples.

“Before the notice can be lifted, multiple samples, taken 24 hours apart, must show the absence of total coliforms and E. coli,” she said.

The regional district said it was maintaining a cautionary approach and that “laboratory sampling to date had reaffirmed the two deep groundwater supply wells continue to provide high quality water with no indication of total coliforms within well water. Testing results also indicate no total coliforms within the storage facilities.”

Updates will be maintained on the regional district’s website, www.rdks.bc.ca.

“The Regional District understands the impact this situation has on residents and businesses. We request customers to remain patient and exercise caution while consuming Thornhill community water until further notice,” concluded the regional district’s notice.

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