January 3, 2019

The Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD), in conjunction with Island Health, has issued a boil water notice effective immediately.    

All users of the Comox Valley water system are instructed to boil their drinking water for one minute at a rolling boil. Those areas affected by this boil water notice are the City of Courtenay, the Town of Comox, and the Comox Valley, Arden, Marsden/Camco, Greaves Crescent, and England Road water local service areas. This boil water notice does not affect residents in the Village of Cumberland, Royston or those connected to the Black Creek-Oyster Bay water supply system.   

Residents are asked to monitor www.comoxvalleyrd.ca/boil and the CVRD’s Facebook and Twitter accounts for updates. To register for text message or voice mail notifications about boil water notices and other emergency notifications visit: www.comoxvalleyrd.ca/getnotified.

Current Situation
BC Hydro has shut down the penstock until January 5 to complete improvements to their diversion dam fish screens, which must be finished this month. The work was originally scheduled in December but was postponed to provide greater flexibility to assist with flood mitigation. This has resulted in the CVRD utilizing its backup pump station downstream from the BC Hydro generating station in the Puntledge River where water quality can be poorer during extreme wet weather events.

Severe rainfall from the current storm system has caused turbidity levels at the back-up pump station to rise above acceptable thresholds, triggering the need for a boil water notice.

“New UV treatment installed last year, combined with the efforts of staff to manage through these turbulent weather periods has helped us to avoid several potential boil water notices over the past year,” said Kris La Rose, Manager of Water and Wastewater Services. “However, this is a situation where conditions at our backup pump station are above acceptable thresholds.”

On November 28, 2018, the Government of Canada and Province of BC committed $62.8 million in federal-provincial funding for a new drinking water treatment system in the Comox Valley Regional District. Once complete, the new system will eliminate turbidity related boil water notices completely. It will also draw water directly from Comox Lake, upstream of the BC Hydro Penstock, avoiding any potential service disruptions during maintenance of Hydro infrastructure. For more information about this project visit www.comoxvalleyrd.ca/watertreatment.

UV Treatment Quick Facts

  • Temporary UV Treatment was installed at the existing chlorination facility in January 2018. This is the first boil water notice issued for the Comox Valley Water System since that time.
  • Adding UV treatment increased the threshold for boil-water notices from 1.0 nephelometric turbidity unit (NTU) to 3.0 NTU.
  • In recent years, around 80 per cent of boil water notices have been within this range – these will be eliminated with the new treatment.
  • The new treatment offers some interim relief from boil water notices, but is not a long-term solution. A new water treatment system is still required to address reliable, safe water supply issues in the long-term.

The Comox Valley Regional District is a federation of three electoral areas and three municipalities providing sustainable services for residents and visitors to the area. The members of the regional district work collaboratively on services for the benefit of the diverse urban and rural areas of the Comox Valley.

Media Contacts:

Media questions about the Comox Valley water system:
Kris La Rose, Senior Manager
Water and Wastewater Services
Comox Valley Regional District
Tel: 250-334-6083
 
Media questions about public health:
Meribeth Burton, Media Relations Communications, Planning & Partnerships
Island Health
Tel: 250-755-4795
 
Media questions about BC Hydro maintenance:
Stephen Watson
Stakeholder Engagement Advisor
BC Hydro
Tel: 250-755-4795