Frequently Asked Questions

 

WATER QUALITY/PUBLIC HEALTH

Is our water safe?

How will you guarantee a safe supply of water so we don’t have a boil water advisory again?

Does the City perform water quality tests?

Does the City have adequate water supply in case of an emergency such as the Five Corners fire?

HOW THE CITY BLENDS ITS WATER

How is the City able to blend its water?

I'M HAVING ISSUES WITH MY WATER

Why does my water look cloudy or discoloured?

What do I do if I have cloudy or discoloured water?

Who can I contact if I’m having an issue?

INTRODUCTION OF MONOCHLORAMINE TO WATER SYSTEM

About Secondary Disinfection

Why are we adding anything to our water?

Does the City have primary water disinfection?

What is secondary disinfectant?

Secondary Disinfection Change

Why did the City switch from chlorine to monochloramine?

Why did the City initially decide to use chlorine?

Why was monochloramine not used from the outset?

Has Fraser Health Authority mandated and/or approved the use of monochloramine over chlorine?

Facts About Monochloramine

Is monochloramine safe?

What will the impact of monochloramine be?

What are the long-term health effects of monochloramine?

What is the amount of ammonia that will be added and will there be an impact on my health?

Does using monochloramine increase the cost of water?

Do home water softeners remove monochloramine?

Does bottle water have monochloramine?

What does chloraminated water taste like?

If monochloramine is such an effective disinfectant, why is it not used in every community?

Is monochloramine safe for swimming pools?

Will monochloramine make my water clear?

Environmental Considerations 

Previously it was said that monochloramine is harmful to fish. Is this true?

What precautions will the City take?

ADDRESSING NATURALLY OCCURRING ARSENIC AND MANGANESE

How is the City going to address naturally occurring arsenic and manganese in its water supply? 

MANAGEMENT/OPERATIONS

How will the City operate the water system?

JOINING METRO VANCOUVER'S WATER SYSTEM

Are we joining Metro Vancouver’s water system?

Why won’t the City just turn on the connection?

How much would it cost to join Metro Vancouver’s system?

What benefit does White Rock get out of owning a utility?

Where can I find more information?

INFORMATION ON THE ACQUISITION AND PROCESS

Why did the City buy the water system?

I’d like to know how much the water system cost. Why can’t I find that information?

WATER MAIN FLUSHING PROGRAM

What is water main flushing?

What are water mains?

Why are you "flushing" the water mains?

How do you clean the water mains during flushing?

How long does it take to flush the water mains on each street?

How will I know when you are flushing water mains on my street?

Can I use my water when you are flushing the water mains on my street?

My in-home medical equipment requires water to operate. What should I do?

What do I do if I need water during the time that I am not supposed to use water?

I have time delayed appliances or water conditioning systems. What should I do?

Is the Fire Department aware of the water main flushing?

Will I notice anything different after you have flushed the water mains?

How do I get rid of the discoloured appearance?

What should I do if the water is still discoloured after two or three hours?

What if someone drinks the water when it is discoloured?

What else may I notice about my water after you have flushed the water mains?

Why can't you flush the water mains at night?

Where will you drain the water used in the flushing program?

Does discharged water affect the environment?

Do other cities have similar water main flushing programs?

I lost water service. Why, and what do I do?

Why does flush-water (hydrant or at the tap) appear discoloured?

Is the water safe to drink?

How will you pay for the water main flushing program?

Will I be paying for the water used in flushing?

Is water main flushing a waste of water? Is this counterproductive to conservation?

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WATER QUALITY/PUBLIC HEALTH

Is our water safe?

Yes. The health and wellbeing of the residents of White Rock has been, and will always be, a top priority for the City.  This is one of the many reasons the City purchased the water utility from a private company and took over its operations. Other reasons were so that the City could:

  • have control over the operations, rates and decisions related to the City’s water quality;
  • immediately take steps to formulate a plan to build arsenic and manganese treatment processes;
  • bring in in-house experts and consultants who have extensive experience enhancing a City’s water quality; and, 
  • be eligible for provincial and federal infrastructure grants not available to private companies. 

How will you guarantee a safe supply of water so we don’t have a boil water advisory again?

The Total Water Quality Management Plan (TWQMP) will provide secondary disinfection to the water supply and upgrade critical system infrastructure to ensure consistent and reliable service of high-quality drinking water.

The TWQMP was required based on the recommendations of the 2010 Boil Water Notice Report when the water utility was under private ownership.

As a result of the report, the Fraser Health Authority had directed the previous owners of the water utility that a secondary disinfectant had to be in place by June 2016. On October 30, 2015, the City of White Rock acquired the water utility from a private company. In 2016, the City of White Rock asked the Fraser Health Authority for an extension in regards to introducing a secondary disinfection so that the City could conduct some testing prior to full implementation of a secondary disinfection. The Fraser Health Authority approved this and the City had until February 1, 2017, to implement a secondary disinfection treatment. 

As part of the TWQMP, upgrades to improve the overall system safety and reliability are being addressed.

Does the City perform water quality tests?

Yes. The City conducts ongoing water quality tests. The City performs weekly tests for bacteria and quarterly quality testing for metals, all data is available on our Water Quality page.   

Does the City have adequate water supply in case of an emergency such as the Five Corners fire?

Yes. The Oxford and Merklin reservoirs are now constructed and operational, therefore along with the existing Roper reservoir, have increased the water storage capacity by 33%

In October of 2015, when the City purchased the water utility, the total available water storage was 4.50 million litres. During the fire, on May 15, 2016, the total available water to fight the fire was 4.65 million litres, 150,000 litres more than when the City purchased the utility. Since that time, the City has constructed a new water reservoir that did not previously exist and completed a second in April of 2017. This means the City’s total available storage is now 6.05 million litres, which is 1.55 million litres more than when the City purchased the utility. The 6.05 million litres is the future storage amount recommended by the consultant to service a population of 26,650 for the year 2031. According to the 2016 census, White Rock’s current population is at 19,952.

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HOW THE CITY BLENDS ITS WATER

How is the City able to blend its water?  

Currently, the City can blend its water in two ways:

1- Reservoirs

The Merklin reservoir has two wells that pump water into the reservoir, where the water is blended and sent into distribution by one pipe. The Oxford reservoir has three wells that pump water into the reservoir, where the water is blended and sent into distribution by one pipe.

This was not previously possible, as the Oxford reservoir was not constructed. Now that the Oxford reservoir is constructed, the water from those wells can be mixed.

With the addition of the two new reservoirs, the wells at each reservoir can be adjusted to pump at different flow rates into the reservoir where the water is blended. For example, at the Merklin reservoir, there are two well pumps that pump into the large reservoir and the water is mixed.

Our Certified Water Operators have the ability to control each well pump. This includes turning a pump off and pumping from the other well, for example, running Well A at 20% and Well B at 80%. So the majority of the water in the reservoir is from Well B.

2 - Distribution System

The system operates using pumps, which create a pressure in the distribution system.

The Certified Water Operators have the ability to set the pressure at wells 4, 5, and at the reservoirs. Depending on water demand and other factors, water will be provided into the distribution system at different locations, where it encounters water from another source and is mixed. For example, if the pressure set point at the Oxford reservoir is higher than well No. 4 and 5 and the Merklin reservoir, and the demand is low, then the Oxford water could be providing water to the majority of the system and will mix with the minimal amount of water provided by the other sources.  

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I'M HAVING ISSUES WITH MY WATER

Why does my water look cloudy or discoloured? 

The City’s water contains naturally occurring manganese. When chlorine and manganese mix, the esthetics of the water may become cloudy. Although the water aesthetics may change, the City’s water is still safe to drink. 

What do I do if I have cloudy or discoloured water? 

If you are experiencing cloudy or discoloured water:

  • remove aerators (screens) from taps
  • turn on your cold water on the tap located nearest your property's water meter/shut off and let it run for a couple of minutes until it runs clear
    • If the water does not clear within 5 - 10 minutes, wait two hours and try again.
  • place the aerators back on the taps

Should you still have cloudy or discoloured water, please call the Operations Department at 604.541.2181 or send an email to water@whiterockcity.ca.

Who can I contact if I’m having an issue?

The City of White Rock wants to hear all questions and concerns. Please direct these to City staff depending on the questions. Operations will be happy to take your call on water (604.541.2181) or if you have a query about billing, please call Finance (604.541.2100).

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INTRODUCTION OF MONOCHLORAMINE TO WATER SYSTEM

About Secondary Disinfection

 Why are we adding anything to our water?

The Fraser Health Authority mandated that a secondary disinfection be added to the City’s water system.  The Fraser Health Authority has been closely monitoring the City to ensure that the drinking water is being treated by an acceptable secondary disinfection as a condition of our operating permit. This was as a result of the 2010 Boil Water Notice Report when the water utility was under private ownership.

Does the City have primary water disinfection?

Neighbouring jurisdictions’ water systems are different than White Rock’s as they require both primary and secondary disinfection and therefore different treatment processes are more appropriate. As White Rock has a groundwater source (confined aquifer/deep wells) it only requires secondary disinfection. The deep wells provide a natural first layer of protection against microbial contamination.

What is secondary disinfectant?

Secondary disinfection provides long-lasting water treatment as the water moves through pipes to consumers. It also maintains water quality by killing potentially harmful organisms. Both monochloramine and chlorine are secondary disinfectants.

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Secondary Disinfection Change

Why did the City switch from chlorine to monochloramine?

We have tried chlorine as a secondary disinfectant option at the Oxford reservoir but the chlorine is reacting with the naturally occurring manganese causing taste, turbidity (cloudiness), colour, and odour issues.  While the water is safe, to control these aesthetic issues, it is necessary to switch to monochloramine as the secondary disinfection option. 

Treating the Oxford reservoir with monochloramine will align it with the treatment process of the Merklin reservoir allowing for a uniform secondary disinfection process common in most jurisdictions.

Why did the City initially decide to use chlorine?

While experts recommended the use of monochloramine, a group of concerned citizens advocated for the use of chlorine.  Council listened to the group’s concerns and directed staff to develop a plan to use chlorine as the secondary disinfection option.  The water is still safe but the chlorine is reacting with the naturally occurring manganese in our pipes and is causing taste, turbidity (cloudiness), colour, and odour issues. 

Why was monochloramine not used from the outset?

Both chlorine and monochloramine are effective treatment options and approved by the Fraser Health Authority. While experts recommended the use of monochloramine, a group of concerned citizens advocated for the use of chlorine. Council listened to the group’s concerns and directed staff to develop a plan to use chlorine as the secondary disinfection option.

Has Fraser Health Authority mandated and/or approved the use of monochloramine over chlorine?

Fraser Health Authority has approved both chlorine and monochloramine as a secondary disinfectant.

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Facts About Monochloramine

Is monochloramine safe?

Yes, monochloramine is used safely in Canada and the United States.

 It has also been used in the Merklin reservoir since 2010 after the E.coli incident occurred when the water utility was privately owned. As a result, since 2010 White Rock residents who get their water from the Merklin reservoir have been enjoying drinking water treated by monochloramine. 

Monochloramine approved by the US Environmental Protection Agency, Health Canada, and the World Health Organization among others. Since the 1930s nearly 100 million North Americans have been enjoying drinking water treated with monochloramine including Maui, Boston, San Francisco, Portland, Toronto, Ottawa, Washington DC, Tampa Bay, Pasco, Fort Lauderdale, Waterloo, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Victoria, Abbotsford and Mission, BC.

It also lasts longer in the distribution system, so it does a better job killing bacteria in areas of the water distribution system that are near the end of the pipes, or areas that do not have as high of flow as other areas

Monochloramine-treated water does not have as strong of a taste as chlorine-treated water

What will the impact of monochloramine be?

Monochloramine does not react to manganese the way that chlorine does.  As the water moves through our distribution system, you will see an improvement to the aesthetic issues that the community has experienced such as issues around colour, turbidity (cloudiness), taste and odour.

What are the long-term health effects of monochloramine?

According to the United States Centre for Disease Control:

Current studies indicate that using or drinking water with small amounts of monochloramine does not cause harmful health effects and provides protection against waterborne disease outbreaks.”

It is approved by Health Canada, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the World Health Organization amongst others.

Since the 1930s nearly 100 million North Americans have been enjoying drinking water treated with monochloramine including: Maui, Boston, San Francisco, Portland, Toronto, Ottawa, Washington DC, Tampa Bay, Pasco, Fort Lauderdale, Waterloo, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Victoria, Abbotsford and Mission, BC.

These studies looked at monochloramine levels of less than 50 mg/L in drinking water. 

The Canadian standards for monochloramine levels are up to 3 mg/L in drinking water and White Rock levels will be around 1 mg/L.

What is the amount of ammonia that will be added and will there be an impact on my health?

The amount of ammonia added until now is 0.05 mg/L. Health Canada's Guideline for Canadian Drinking Water for chloramine is not to exceed 3 mg/L; therefore, the amount the City is using is low. Furthermore, once ammonia is introduced into the system it will react with chlorine and form monochloramine. There are no health implications for monochloramine under the 3 mg/L concentration level set by Health Canada. 

Does using monochloramine increase the cost of water?

There will be minimal budget implications because the City already has the pumps for the ammonia application.  The cost of the addition of approximately 0.1 mg/L would be a very small addition to the operation cost.  In addition, there should be cost savings when the staff time flushing in areas of complaint are reduced and the eliminating the additional flushing of the entire system.

Do home water softeners remove monochloramine?

Most water softeners are not designed to remove monochloramine.

Does bottle water have monochloramine?

Normally it does not.  Bottled water could contain monochloramine if the company uses water supplied with monochloramine in its water source.

What does chloraminated water taste like?

Monochloramine itself is colourless, tasteless and odourless.  In comparison to chlorinated water, chloraminated water does not have a strong chlorine taste.

If monochloramine is such an effective disinfectant, why is it not used in every community?

While the public often considers all drinking water to be the same, the local raw water and water distribution conditions determine the best option for each particular community. 

Both chlorine and monochloramine have their own advantages and disadvantages.  Given sufficient contact time, monochloramine is as effective as chlorine in destroying bacteria.  While chlorine works more quickly, it does not last as long in the water as monochloramine.

The City is utilizing chloramination, as the water from the aquifer does not require primary treatment.  The disinfectant is added to ensure the quality of the water is maintained throughout the distribution system. 

Since the 1930s nearly 100 million North Americans have been enjoying drinking water treated with monochloramine including Maui, Boston, San Francisco, Portland, Toronto, Ottawa, Washington DC, Tampa Bay, Pasco, Fort Lauderdale, Waterloo, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Victoria, Abbotsford and Mission, BC.

Is monochloramine safe for swimming pools?

Yes.  Your pool still requires a free-chlorine residual to delay algae and bacterial growth.  Test kits measure free-chlorine residuals and can be used with confidence.  Contact your local pool supply store for details.

Will monochloramine make my water clear?

As the water moves through our distribution system, the aesthetic impacts from the chlorine reacting with the naturally occurring manganese will be reduced.

Fraser Health Authority has approved both chlorine and monochloramine as a secondary disinfectant.

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Environmental Considerations 

Previously it was said that monochloramine is harmful to fish. Is this true?

Chloraminated water that gets into our storm drains and streams through lawn watering or other release is diluted enough that it will not harm fish. Monochloramine is already entering our storm drains and streams as the Merklin reservoir has been treated with monochloramine since 2010.

Fish do absorb monochloramine directly into their bloodstream through their gills which, at higher levels of concentration, can damage the gill tissue and enter the red blood cells causing a sudden and severe blood disorder. For fish owners, monochloramines can be removed from the water by using a water conditioner.  Your pet supplier should be able to provide any further guidance you may need on these products.

What precautions will the City take?

The City recognizes that there are potential impacts to the environment with the use of monochloramine.  Water Utility staff will carry chemical pucks and bags to neutralize the monochloramine in the unlikely event of a water main break.  This type of response is common and is required for any treated water that is released to the environment, including water treated with chlorine.

Since 2010 there have been no issues.

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ADDRESSING NATURALLY OCCURRING ARSENIC AND MANGANESE

How is the City going to address naturally occurring arsenic and manganese in its water supply? 

Our water supply contains naturally occurring arsenic and manganese, which is why the City is working towards building arsenic and manganese treatment plants. 

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MANAGEMENT/OPERATIONS

How will the City operate the water system?

The City of White Rock is the sole owner and operator of this facility. The City runs the day-to-day operations and ensures the quality and safety of the water supply.

To do this, the City has taken some key steps to ensure it has the expertise to provide the residents of White Rock quality water. For example, since taking ownership of the water utility, the City has:

  • hired an international award winning Utilities Manager with extensive experience working with water utilities and providing award winning clean water;
  • applied for provincial and federal infrastructure grants not available to private companies to address naturally occurring arsenic and manganese in the City’s water; and is,
  • partnered with RES'EAU WaterNET, a research organization out of UBC that is able to tap into a vast network of experts nationally and internationally who can help us achieve our goals as we move towards building the arsenic and manganese treatment processes. 

The City will operate the treatment processes, prepare and execute capital and maintenance plans, read water meters, perform water quality testing, and prepare annual reports.

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JOINING METRO VANCOUVER'S WATER SYSTEM

Are we joining Metro Vancouver’s water system?

No. One of the reasons is because Metro Vancouver’s water system uses chlorine as a secondary disinfectant. Unfortunately, chlorine will react with the manganese that has built up in our water distribution system for decades, as the previous water utility providers did not address the naturally occurring manganese from the source (aquifer), which has built up in the 80km of piping in the system.

When chlorine reacts with manganese, the result is discoloured water. We have found the level of discoloration is simply unacceptable

Why won’t the City just turn on the connection? 

It is not feasible for any connection to the Metro Vancouver water system to be made before 2019 at the earliest.

How much would it cost to join Metro Vancouver’s system?

The City would also need to purchase property, build a pump station on Surrey property at South Surrey Athletic Park, and construct distribution lines to get the water to both Oxford and Merklin reservoirs and pay Metro Vancouver for the cost of the water. 

Metro Vancouver would need to perform upstream improvements to their system to meet the additional population demand and the City would be required to pay for these improvements as well as the water.

The City would also have no control over replacement and expansion plans and would also be responsible for a percentage of any capital expenditures for any upgrades or expansions throughout the system in any jurisdiction in Metro Vancouver.

Joining Metro Vancouver would require ongoing operating payments by City of White Rock to Metro Vancouver of approximately $1.5 million dollars each year.

The approximate $25 million cost difference when looking at joining the Metro Vancouver water system and maintaining our own system.

What benefit does White Rock get out of owning a utility?

Acquiring the water utility gives White Rock control over the future of the City’s water supply, including the ability to make quick decisions to address/enhance the City’s water quality. 

Where can I find out more information?

Find out more about the City and the Greater Vancouver investigation into options to receive the water supply from the Greater Vancouver Water District Public Release - City of White Rock Water Supply Analysis Reports

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INFORMATION ON THE ACQUISITION AND PROCESS

Why did the City buy the water system?

In 2013, city staff and council began this consideration. The City developed a business case, heard from members of the community, and held a public meeting in June 2015 where residents expressed significant support for the idea of an acquisition.

As a result of that process, the City of White Rock signed a negotiated agreement with the private company to acquire the water utility from them. The City took ownership of the operations on October 30, 2015.

This was an important milestone for the community, as it means all utility fees are now reinvested directly into the community. Furthermore, the City also has direct control of the water system, which allows the City to accommodate growth and make upgrades to the existing infrastructure as required. 

I would like to know how much the water system cost. Why can’t I find that information?

The City of White Rock is still in negotiations with EPCOR over the final price of the water system, so a final purchase price has not yet been determined. The City did make a $14 million advance payment to EPCOR, but this is not the final purchase price. Once a final purchase price is determined, the City will inform the public.

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WATER MAIN FLUSHING PROGRAM

What is water main flushing?
Water main flushing is the process used to clean water mains. Water system valves are turned off to isolate a section of the water main. Water is then flushed through in one direction at high speed to produce a scouring action that removes built-up sediment. Clean water is always used to flush water mains. After flushing, the water exits through an attachment to a fire hydrant.

What are water mains?
Water mains are underground pipes that carry water from the reservoir to your street.

Why are you "flushing" the water mains?
We clean water mains to improve water quality by removing sediment. Water travels slowly through the mains, causing sediment to settle at the bottom and build up over time. A change in direction or an increase in the rate of flow of the water in the mains (e.g., due to water main breaks, or hydrant use for firefighting) can disturb the sediment and discolour the water.

How do you clean the water mains during flushing?
We flush most of the water mains by forcing water through them at high velocity and discharging it through hydrants. This water flow scours and cleans sediment from inside the mains. We leave the hydrant open until the water runs clear. The flushed water will be de-chlorinated before entering the catch basin.

How long does it take to flush the water mains on each street?
Flushing takes approximately 30 minutes to an hour. We require all taps to be turned off and no toilets flushed during the flushing time as indicated in the notice to residents for individual households to ensure that the work is done properly.

How will I know when you are flushing water mains on my street?
We will notify you via letters delivered to each residence prior to commencement of work. The letter will contain instructions and information on the program. If you live in a multi-family complex, staff will contact your property manager/landlord on when the work will begin and will include information on how long it will take.

Can I use my water when you are flushing the water mains on my street?

Do not use your water or flush your toilet when we are cleaning the water mains on your street. Using your water or flushing your toilet could draw sediment into the water pipes of your building, into water filters, washing machines, hot water tanks, etc. Turn off any time-delayed water systems, such as dishwashers, coffee makers, and lawn sprinklers.

My in-home medical equipment requires water to operate. What should I do?
Consider rescheduling the use of this equipment before or after the water main flushing. Make sure the cold water tap runs clear before connecting to the in-home water-dependent medical equipment.

What do I do if I need water during the time that I am not supposed to use water?
As a precautionary measure you may store a sufficient reserve of potable water for use during the flushing hours.

I have time delayed appliances or water conditioning systems. What should I do?
Please turn off all time delayed water line appliances during the flushing period. If you have water conditioning systems such as water softener or filtration system, you may want to shut off the water supply valve to these systems, until after the water main flushing is completed.

Is the Fire Department aware of the water main flushing?
Yes. The City of White Rock Fire Department is informed of the flushing time, date, and location. Water for fire suppression is available from the water system at all times during the flushing program.

Will I notice anything different after you have flushed the water mains?
Your water may be discoloured. Water is sometimes discoloured after water main cleaning, but this should not last long. Do not use discoloured water for any purpose that require clean water, such as preparing food and beverages, medical and dental procedures, or laundry.

  • After flushing is complete, remove the aerator (a fine mesh grid) on your tap. Then, turn on a cold water tap, preferably the laundry tap, and let the water run for a few minutes.
    • Do not choose a tap that has a water filter connected to it; otherwise, the sediment may clog your filter.
    • Do not use a hot water tap because it could draw sediment into your hot water tank. Once the water runs clear place back the aerator.
  • Catch some water in a light coloured cup or container to see if it is clear. You can use your water if it is clear.
  • If the water does not clear within 5 - 10 minutes, wait two hours and try again.

How do I get rid of the discoloured appearance?
Customers are advised to fully open their cold water faucets in their laundry tap, kitchen and/or bathroom to flush this water out of their service piping and plumbing lines. In most cases, the water should begin to run clear again within a minute. If it does not clear, please let us know by calling 604.541.2181 or via email water@whiterockcity.ca

What should I do if the water is still discoloured after two or three hours?
If this happens, call 604.541.2181 or via email water@whiterockcity.ca 

What if someone drinks the water when it is discoloured?
Drinking discoloured water should not make you sick; however, it may not smell, taste, or look pleasant.

What else may I notice about my water after you have flushed the water mains?
Immediately after the cleaning you may notice that your water is cloudy or has a chlorine smell.

  • Cloudy water - water is cloudy when air gets in it and makes tiny bubbles. These bubbles are harmless and will disappear if you let the water sit for a few minutes.

Why can't you flush the water mains at night?
It is safer for staff to work on the streets in daylight. Also, it is easier in the daylight to see when all the sediment has been flushed out and the water is running clear.

Where will you drain the water used in the flushing program?
We will discharge the water into the street catch basins. We will be using an environmentally friendly product (sodium thiosulphate) to remove the chlorine from the water before it is discharged.

Does discharged water affect the environment?
No. The City takes special precautions to ensure that the quantity and quality of the water flushed is safe for disposal. Before doing any field work, the City investigates water disposal routes and ensures that they are of adequate capacity to receive the water and are not sensitive to the flow. In most cases, the water is sent to stormwater collection system, or to a drainage ditch. During flushing, the field crew monitors disposal of the water, reduces its energy to prevent erosion, and adds dechlorination pucks to remove any chlorine.

Do other cities have similar water main flushing programs?
Many cities have some type of flushing program to clean their water mains. This is considered the best way to improve water quality and increase the reliability of the distribution system.

I lost water service. Why, and what do I do?
Though not intentional, this happens from time to time during the flushing program. During flushing, certain valves are closed to provide control over the direction of flow. It is likely that a valve closure resulted in loss of supply to your block. Contact the Engineering and Municipal Operations Department at 604.541.2181 or email water@operationis.ca The field crew will be sent to your block immediately to investigate and identify which valves may have been inadvertently left closed and will be reopened.

Why does flush-water (hydrant or at the tap) appear discoloured?
The colour is due to the presence of solids that are scoured from the surface of the pipes. These may include sand, sediment, iron (rust), and manganese, all of which are naturally occurring and common to virtually every water system. At the levels that cause mild discolouration, these solids are not harmful, although they may impart an undesirable taste to the water.

Is the water safe to drink?
Yes, the City has maintained compliance with all provincial and federal drinking water quality standards. The City performs frequent monitoring throughout the system to ensure the safety and aesthetic quality of your water.

How will you pay for the water main flushing program?
Funds from the water utility rates will pay for this program. Water rates will not be increased to pay for this maintenance program.

Will I be paying for the water used in flushing?
No, each residence and business is individually metered at the service connection to determine consumption. Your utility bill is based on your specific meter readings.

Is water main flushing a waste of water? Is this counterproductive to conservation?
No. We are using a unidirectional flushing technique, which uses less water than conventional flushing. The City strongly values, encourages and practices water conservation measures. In developing the flushing program, the City has considered the impact of water use and weighed it against the known benefits of flushing. While a fair amount of water is used and is necessary to create an effective scour, the City uses a flushing practice called (unidirectional) water main flushing that is specifically designed to reduce overall water usage.

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