VOP works overtime on water concerns 

Schools now flushing taps daily; renowned researcher to speak in Pemberton

click to enlarge PHOTO BY BRADEN DUPUIS. - ADDRESSING CONCERNS A Pemberton woman asks a question at a town hall meeting on April 5. The Village has been working overtime to address concerns around lead in drinking water caused by corrosive water leaching metal from pipe fixtures.
  • Photo by Braden Dupuis.
  • ADDRESSING CONCERNS A Pemberton woman asks a question at a town hall meeting on April 5. The Village has been working overtime to address concerns around lead in drinking water caused by corrosive water leaching metal from pipe fixtures.

Staff at the Village of Pemberton (VOP) is working overtime to respond to community concerns over lead in drinking water caused by corrosive water leaching metals from pipefittings.

Several initiatives are underway as a result.

The VOP is currently gauging interest in a bulk-water filter purchase.

EnviroGuard/RainFresh has offered wholesale pricing for Pemberton residents on its NSF certified water filters, which are easily installed under sinks or faucets.

There are three models available — the $20 faucet filter, $64 QS1 model and $93 QS2 model — and more information on each can be found at rainfresh.ca/residential.php.

The VOP needs at least 50 people to qualify for the bulk-buy pricing.

Those interested can email admin@pemberton.ca by Monday, May 2, with their first and last name, phone number, email and preferred model.

The VOP has also teamed up with Maxxim Analytics to offer bulk pricing on lead testing in peoples' homes.

The testing costs $20/sample. It is recommended that both pre- and post-flush samples are taken.

Testing fees are payable to the VOP with sample pickup — residents can pay with cash, cheque or debit.

Residents who wish to have their water tested should email admin@pemberton.ca by Wednesday, April 20 at 2 p.m.

Residents of Pemberton are also able to get their blood-lead tested through their local physicians, after the VOP asked Vancouver Coastal Health to rescind an earlier memo telling physicians not to conduct the tests based on water concerns alone.

The VOP is also working towards a long-term solution to the corrosivity of its water. More details are expected at an upcoming council meeting.

Following a town hall meeting on April 5, the VOP posted all of its presentation materials to its website.

The presentation materials and continued updates are available at www.pemberton.ca/residents/health-and-environment/pemberton-water/.

SCHOOLS NOW FLUSHING DAILY

Though it was revealed at the April 5 town hall meeting that the schools in Pemberton had only been flushing their pipes once a week, the school district confirmed in a letter to parents that's since been changed to daily flushing.

Effective immediately, all hallway drinking fountains are continuously flowing at very low levels to ensure flushing of the lines 24 hours a day, and all classroom drinking fountains are closed off until the VOP remedies the pH level in the water.

Faucet filters will soon be installed on all classroom taps, and staff is flushing the taps in the meantime.

Filtered-water filling stations will be installed for students to fill their water bottles, and water testing will now be conducted regularly at all schools in the district.

"The School District takes water quality very seriously and are certain that the additional preventative measures identified above will provide safe drinking water to our students for the foreseeable future, regardless of whether potential water quality concerns in the Pemberton area arise again," Shehzad Somji, the district's secretary-treasurer, wrote in the letter.

RENOWNED LEAD RESEARCHER TO SPEAK IN PEMBERTON

Dr. Bruce Lanphear, one of the world's leading researchers on the effects of lead in drinking water, will be speaking in Pemberton at the end of April.

Lanphear hopes to have representatives from the BC Centre for Disease Control, Vancouver Coastal Health and the Village of Pemberton on hand for the session.

Lanphear will do a 20-minute presentation before opening up the session for a Q and A.

A date and location for the presentation have yet to be confirmed.

Check the Informed Pemberton Facebook page for updates.

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