A do not consume water advisory for Nicola Lakeshore Estates regarding high levels of arsenic that went into effect last week has officially been lifted by the Interior Health Authority.
IHA spokesperson Darshan Lindsay told the Herald Friday afternoon (June 24) that the advisory was no longer in effect.
Routine tests found the housing development’s water supply was twice the allowable concentration for arsenic at 0.024 milligrams per litre back on June 2.
On Thursday, (June 16) president of Nicola Lakeshore Estates, Frank Rizzardo told the Herald the tests conducted following the advisory showed the levels back within compliance. The level of arsenic was 0.007 milligrams per litre in the groundwater supply, well below Health Canada’s maximum acceptable concentration of 0.010 milligrams per litre.
Despite this, IHA kept the advisory in effect.
“While the water samples have come back within acceptable levels for arsenic, we are awaiting additional information from the water operator which includes ensuring a plan is in place to minimize the possibility of this happening again in the future,” Lindsay told the Herald last week.
The cause of the issue was listed as an equipment failure on IHA’s website.
Rizzardo said recent power outages caused equipment in the water treatment plant to shut off and not come back on automatically, which lead to the spike in arsenic.
The Nicola Lakeshore Estates water supply is tested regularly and it is from one of those tests that the level of arsenic was 0.024 milligrams per litre.
A water sample collected on June 2 was sent away for lab work on June 6, Rizzardo said.
The results were then sent to the IHA, which told the Herald it wasn’t notified of the elevated levels of arsenic by the Nicola Lakeshore Estates Water System operator until June 13, the same day it said it issued the advisory. An advisory notice obtained by the Herald is dated June 13 as well.
However, until the afternoon of June 17, the IHA website stated the advisory went into effect on June 9.
Lindsay said this information was in error, and IHA is “looking into that.”
Rizzardo said there is a dilution factor to consider as the water sample tested to be higher than acceptable was about from 2,000 additional gallons.
That water was added to the 42,000 gallons previously treated and stockpiled before the power bump.
In all 70 houses make up the Nicola Lakeshore Estates, 10 of which are occupied by full-time residents, Rizzardo said, adding that the rest are used as recreational homes.