City raises glass to drinking water

Armstrong is endorsing the Okanagan Basin Water Board when it comes to recommendations on drinking water.

The support came after an OBWB report was presented to Armstrong council on Monday. The report summarized recommendations for managing drinking bans from a committee of water experts to Health Minister George Abbott.

The committee of water experts believes “management of drinking water systems and the effectiveness of water quality advisories can be improved with more consistent risk assessment and more understandable public communication.”

They also found that drinking water advisories, such as boil-water advisories, cannot completely safeguard drinking water systems.

Instead there should be a multi-factor approach to examine all components of drinking water systems, including the protection of water that is used for drinking, better water treatment processes, and better ways to distribute water.

The report outlined that many people do not fully understand drinking advisories.

For example, people may not drink water that is not boiled under a boil-water advisory, but they may brush their teeth or prepare food with non-boiled water.

They also believe that the longer a drink advisory goes on the more confused the public gets about when to use water and how.

Also, the way to measure how severe a drinking advisory is usually based on turbidity, which is not always an accurate assessment of disease risk in water.

Armstrong Mayor Jerry Oglow said their council endorsed the OBWB position because something needs to be done to protect the public’s drinking water.

“We are certainly affected by interior health regulations, as every water purveyor is, there are some inconsistencies that have been identified in that report,” said Oglow.

“The bottom line is we would like to bring some reason back to the table in terms of how these regulations are applied, and that they be consistently applied.”

The OBWB, with the help of Armstrong council, will present this report titled Summary of Ministry Report: Turbidity and Microbial Risk in Drinking Water at the Union of British Columbia Municipalities conference in September.