The CSRD is working with Interior Health to deliver a Turbidity Education and Notification Campaign that will better inform water users.
In keeping with provincial regulations, the campaign requires the CSRD to notify their customers of elevated turbidity levels (cloudiness in the water). Science has proven that as turbidity levels rise, the risk of gastrointestinal illnesses such as Salmonellosis and Giardiasis also increases - particularly for at-risk populations such as children, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems. Contaminants such as viruses, bacteria, and parasites can attach themselves to the suspended particles in turbid water. These particles can then interfere with disinfection by shielding contaminants from the disinfection (e.g. chlorine).
Turbidity is defined as, fine suspended particles of clay, silt, organic and inorganic matter, plankton, and other microscopic organisms that are picked up by water as it passes through a watershed or are deposited into a lake. The Turbidity Index is a messaging tool designed to notify customers of current turbidity levels and, therefore, the relative risk of drinking water. The Index shows whether water is 'Good' (<1 NTU), 'Fair' (1-5 NTU) or 'Poor' (>5 NTU). Water provided to customers by the Columbia Shuswap Regional District is considered 'Good' for 99.9% of the year (i.e. turbidity under <1 NTU). However, during periods of extremely heavy rainfalls in the spring, the turbidity index may deteriorate to 'Fair'.
The CSRD is committed to providing clean and fresh drinking water to its citizens. As part of this commitment, we will be notifying customers of turbidity levels. Methods of notification will include the CSRD website, newspapers, radio, public notices, etc.
When turbidity levels exceed the 1 NTU standard recommended in the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality, the CSRD will issue a water quality advisor (WQA). While health risks during a WQA are considered very low, the Columbia Shuswap Regional District and Interior Health Authority recommend that children, the elderly, people with weakened immune systems, and anyone seeking additional protection drink boiled water or a safe alternative. For these at-risk populations, water intended for drinking, washing fruits or vegetables, making beverages or ice, or brushing teeth should be boiled for one minute. Safe alternatives to tap water include inspected/approved bottled or distilled water, or water filtered through a well-maintained treatment device.