Rumours and Misperceptions

 

Rumours and Misperceptions - Eliminating Misinformation

The City of White Rock regularly receives phone calls and inquiries asking if certain information circulating is true. The Rumours and Misperceptions page will address inaccurate information circulating in the community and media.

Community members are encouraged to check back often as new facts and topics will be added on a regular basis.

If you hear rumours in the community that you believe should be corrected please contact the City at factcheck@whiterockcity.ca.

In order to fact check the potential rumour we do require some information and sources. Below are some helpful tips on how you can help us “set the record straight”.

Tips for submitting a potential rumour:

  • Social Media Post: Screenshot(s) of the post in question or provide the link to it
  • Media: Links to media articles, editorials, Letters to the Editor
  • Broadcasts: Date and time of broadcast along with the station 

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Rumour: There is a presence of glyphosate in White Rock water. 

 

Background: In August 2017, the City was made aware of a resident who claimed that they had tested water in White Rock and found the presence of glyphosate through a home testing kit ordered over the internet.

 

Read the original email here

 

Furthermore, this individual has appeared on an online podcast to further spread his claims that glyphosate is in the water.

 

The White Rock Safe Water Alliance group has also made claims that glyphosate is in White Rock Water on their blog at https://whiterocksafewateralliance.com/2017/09/10/glyphosate-in-white-rock-drinking-water/

Fact Check: False. There is no glyphosate in White Rock water. 

 

The City conducted tests for glyphosate through Exova and found that there was no glyphosate in the water. All tests concluded that glyphosate was undetectable in White Rock Water.

 

The water was tested prior to the addition of secondary disinfectant to avoid any possibility of oxidation of the alleged contaminate.

 

An excerpt from the tests:

 

 

View the entire PDF with the testing results here

 

Exova follows the US EPA Sampling Procedures, and Chain of Custody of Samples and Data.

 

The US EPA emphasizes the following:

 

Sampling Procedures **:

The purpose of sampling is to collect representative portions from a suspected contaminated site.

Sample collection is critical to determining the presence, type, concentration, and extent of environmental contamination by hazardous substances; thus, it is a crucial part of every sampling and environmental testing effort. Sampling procedures must be consistently followed to mitigate risk of error and the expense of re-sampling.

 

Failure to follow proper sampling and shipping procedures could result in samples that are contaminated, in broken containers, mislabeled, lost during shipping, or unusable because of a missed holding time. If procedures are inconsistently or improperly followed, any resultant analytical data may be inaccurate and may not be legally defensible.

 

Maintain Chain of Custody of Samples and Data

Acquiring accurate and legally defensible data is the CLP’s primary objective; therefore, the sampler must collect samples according to strict sampling procedures, plans, and guidelines.

EPA and many other Federal agencies use data resulting from analytical testing of samples to:

  • Determine if a site is contaminated with organic and/or inorganic compounds
  • Identify pollution sources
  • Identify Potentially Responsible Parties (PRPs)
  • Validate remedial design methodologies
  • Assess response and remedial priorities
  • Assess risk to human health and the environment
  • Determine appropriate cleanup actions
  • Determine cleanup achievements

 

 **

    

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Rumour: The City is hiding how much it paid for the water utility 

Fact Check: 

  • The City did make a $14 million advance payment to EPCOR but this is not considered to be the final purchase price. 
  • The City is still negotiating the final purchase of the water utility. Therefore, a final purchase price has not been determined. 
  • Once a final purchase price has been determined, the City will inform the public.

Background:

  • EPCOR purchased the privately-owned and operated White Rock Utilities water assets on May 1, 2005.  
  • On June 10, 2013, City of White Rock Council voted unanimously to direct the chief administrative officer to acquire title to the water utility.
  • The City’s desire to purchase the utility assets arose out of an interest by the City Council and administration to own its water assets and have the economic benefits go to White Rock and its residents. Certain community groups were also advocating for the acquisition.
  • The City made an initial payment of $14 million plus adjustments towards the water utility acquisition.

Read the Supporting Material and Sources

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Rumour: The City is not doing anything to address the water discolouration and quality. 
 

Fact: 
In under two years of owning the water utility which services our community, the City has taken many steps towards improving the safety of our water, water quality, and water infrastructure.

 

For a quick glance, here are some of the milestones that have been achieved since the City acquired the water utility: (Click to enlarge)

 

Most recently, in April of 2017, the City changed its secondary disinfectant to monochloramine as chlorine was reacting with the naturally occurring manganese causing taste, cloudiness, colour, and odour issues. While the water is safe, to control these aesthetic issues it was necessary to switch to monochloramine as the secondary disinfectant. 

 

We do know that some people are still experiencing occasional discolouration, but we are hopeful that as the new secondary disinfectant makes its way through the system, this matter will be resolved.

 

Did you know that nearly 100 million North Americans have been drinking water treated with monochloramine for over 70 years? Perhaps you have even vacationed at a city that uses monochloramine as a secondary disinfection. Check out the map on this page for more information.

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Rumour: The City is not communicating or engaging with the public about water in White Rock.

Fact: 

Since acquiring the water utility from EPCOR, the City has provided an unprecedented level of information to the public through public meetings, marketing and communication campaigns, and on the City’s website under the My Water page, which includes links to the following areas: 

  • Brochures included in Water Bills – The City includes informative brochures enclosed in each water bill which provides updates on the City’s various water-related initiatives and activities. 

  • City Water Projects – Where you can find information on the capital projects related to water as part of the City’s Total Water Quality Management Project.

  • Event Materials – Contains the material from the number of Water Quality Open Houses, community forums, and public information meetings.  

  • Flushing Program – informs the public of the flushing program, when City Staff would be flushing, and what to do and not to do when flushing is taking place in their area. Our staff also hand-deliver notices to residents in the area a few days prior to the flushing starting in their area. 

  • Historic Funding Announcement – the City received nearly $12 million dollars in government grant funds to help improve the City’s water quality through the construction of treatment processes, set to be completed by March 2019. 

  • Water Quality – Where you can find monthly water quality test results from the time the City acquired the water utility from EPCOR, who did not provide such information. 

  • Water Research - to ensure the City implements the right technology to reach its water quality goals and address concerns like yours, it partnered with RES'EAU-WaterNET.

The City also developed FAQ pages related to water and secondary disinfection that further ensures the public is aware of the steps the City is taking to address water quality matters.

 

The City provides updates to Council and the public on the status of the City’s water quality and infrastructure through additional Corporate Reports that are published on the City’s website. For example, there is a Corporate Report on “Public Awareness Regarding City’s Water Related Activities” which provides links, screenshots of the marketing communication activities the City undertook to inform and educate the public on its research partnership, chlorination, and Open House. Regular Council Meetings are also live streamed and available on demand.

 

We also post updates on social media (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram), place advertisements in local newspapers, send press releases and statements, and include information in e-newsletters.

 

The City has held multiple Open Houses and Community Forums on water in White Rock. All of the event materials from these open houses/community forums is available on our website.

  • Public Information Meeting - June 16, 2015
  • Community Forum - October 15, 2015
  • Open House - March 2, 2016
  • Water Quality Open House - December 7, 2016