Fairwinds Meeting Summary
The Fairwinds Community Association held a meeting on Wednesday August 26th at the Schooner Cover Resort, Anchor Room to discuss water quality in the neighbourhood. The Regional District of Nanaimo and Vancouver Island Health Authority attended the meeting to provide presentations on existing water quality and on current strategies and future plans to improve water quality.
VIHA representative Lynn Magee BSc, CPHI(C), Regional Drinking Water Coordinator provided a backgrounder on the agency's role in ensuring healthy drinking water and the oversight VIHA provides with respect to all water systems including the RDN systems. Ms Magee detailed the regulatory framework and the operational approach to testing compliance. Concerns have been expressed by residents that elevated levels of manganese may cause negative health effects. Ms Magee referred to the work done by Dr. Rockwell, Medical Health Officer for the Vancouver Island Health Authority which indicated no health risk for the levels of manganese in the water system.
Mike Donnelly, Manager of Water Services for the RDN provided an overview of the amount of water being used this summer and activities related to the improvement of water quality in the area.
Water consumption in Fairwinds was at an all time high this summer with average use ranging between 3.3 and 4.5 cubic metres per day per household for Fairwinds residents. That translates to 725 and 1,000 gallons a day. Fairwinds has the highest consumption on average in the Regional District water systems, and double that of many other RDN systems.
This summer a number of changes were made to improve water quality on a temporary basis. Additional low manganese and iron contaminated water was delivered to the Fairwinds area via the Englishman River water supply and via a new well in the Madrona area. In addition sprinkling regulations were modified to reduce flows and the disruption of in line sediments and Fairwinds wells #2 and #3 which are high in iron and manganese were taken out of service when possible during the summer.
The RDN has moved forward on the previously planned well sequencing project to reduce overall levels of iron and manganese. This project will be completed in September. The RDN continues to pursue VIHA approval of a temporary operating permit for the new well on Claudet and hopes to have that supply in place this fall thus providing further opportunities to reduce iron and manganese levels.
Full treatment was discussed as well. The Worley Parsons Engineering study on treatment was briefly reviewed with the conclusion on treatment options discussed in more detail. The RDN will be finalizing this report, determining the funding approach and then approaching the Board for approval to obtain voter assent for the necessary borrowing. More information will be made available to residents of the Nanoose Bay Peninsula Water Service area in the coming weeks.