Burton residents frustrated as boil water notice enters sixth week

by Jillian Trainor, originally posted on January 14, 2017


When residents of Burton were told of the boil water advisory at the end of November, no oneexpected that advisory to last into the new year.

The notice was first issued because low levels of coliform bacteria and E. coli were found in samplesof the community’s water system.

E. coli is a bacterium commonly found in the intestines of humans and other animals, where itusually causes no harm. Some strains can cause severe food poisoning, especially in children andthe elderly.

To ensure all traces of these bacteria have been erased the water system has been flushed out andsodium hydrochlorite is being added.

Although there have been no adverse samples since the notice was issued the sodium hydrochloriteis still being added as a precautionary measure.

“We do require some time to make sure that everything is going alright, and typically that’s abouttwo to three weeks,” said Jason McDiarmid, manager of utility services for the Regional District ofCentral Kootenay (RDCK). “We let this one go a little bit longer because just adding sodium hypochlorination to that reservoir isn’t necessarily effective at disinfecting the entire system. In otherwords, that chlorinated water might not make it back through the entire distribution system.”

Though the chlorine is being added to help disinfect the water, residents are upset it’s still beingused.

“We’re upset because the chlorine is so strong it burns your eyes, it burns your throat, especiallywhen you’re showering,” said Wanda Buerge, a resident of Burton. “I just filled a frying pan full ofwater and the chlorine is very noticeable.”

A chlorinator has been added to regulate the dosage levels in order to ensure chlorine is beingdistributed in equal amounts.

This wasn’t the first time in 2016 a boil water notice was issued for Burton. The most recent one wasin fact on Sept.1. However that one only lasted two weeks.

To figure out why the community gets these notices at least once a year, the RDCK plans on settingup a community meeting, which will likely take place some time in March.

The chlorinator will keep running until that time.

Depending on what the findings are, sodium hypochlorite might be permanently added to the watersystem, something residents do not want.

“We’re all saying ‘No,’” said Buerge. “When BC Hydro had the system the reason they went with thewell system was so that we would never have to have chlorine in our water.”




The boil water notice has since been downgraded, but not lifted.


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