October 2020 Newsletter
The District continues to implement measures to keep the drinking water safe during this ongoing COVID19 pandemic. NSSWD maintains its plan to keep its employees safe and ensure continued ability to manage water systems. The District’s Emergency Response Plan was updated to include a Pandemic Plan that includes NSSWD’s actions and appropriate measures at all pump-houses. Authorities have indicated that routine disinfection with sodium hypochlorite is effective against viruses, including SARS-CoV2, and water supply safety is unaffected.
The District is planning to have the Reservoir water tank cleaned in late November-early December. This will involve taking the Reservoir out of service for a few days while divers squeegee the walls and vacuum debris from the floor; to be followed by confirmation that bacteria were not introduced during the operation. The District has an alternate system to maintain water pressure during cleaning, but it is still possible that service outages may be required. More information will be provided directly to residents closer to project dates.
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
The postponed Annual General Meeting was held on August 5 using COVID19 protocols to ensure the safety of attendees. 10 residents and the 3 Trustees attended the meeting where Tim Slaney was elected by acclimation as Trustee for a 3-year term ending 2023 and the accounting firm of McLean Wheadon Lizotte were approved as Auditor for the calendar year 2020.
Draft minutes of the meeting,Financial Statements for the year ended December 31, 2019 and the annual reports for the District: Report from the Chair, Water Quality Report and the Financial Report are available on the District’s website at http://www.scottpointwaterworks.com/governance/2020-annual-general-meeting/
For a number of years the District has had a Permanent Advisory informing residents of the presence of disinfectant by-products, particularly tri-halomethanes (THMs), formed by the reaction between chlorine and natural organic matter. In 2018 the District completed modifications to the treatment regime at Wells 1 and 4 aimed at reducing THM levels. August testing showed levels below the Maximum Allowable Concentration of 0.10 mg/L for the 7thquarter in a row and the 12 month rolling average sits at .067 mg/L. The results show that Project Blend met its objectives and with one more good result and agreement with Island Health, the District will remove the Permanent Advisory.
The District maintains a monitoring regime approved by Island Health and testing shows District water meets all of the requirements of provincial regulations and federal guidelines. However, some residents have expressed concerns about the taste of District water and milky deposits on glassware. Some have felt the need to install in-house systems.
Understanding these aesthetic parameters comes from appreciating the difference in water source and water flow. Water sourced from rainfall surface run-off in major cities in B.C. is usually contains fewer minerals that water sourced from groundwater or glacier melt. It is these minerals (mostly calcium carbonate) that give water taste, but leave deposits on glassware. The common treatment is called ion exchange or water softening where calcium is replaced by sodium. This requires a fair amount of costly salt to be used during treatment and is troublesome in terms of water required to regenerate the media, discharge of a brine solution and the amount of sodium put into the water. Sodium is a concern for people with hypertension or on sodium reduced diets. The District removed water softening treatment as part of Project Blend with the goal of reducing THMs and improving water acidity. The District believes it is a fair trade off to reduce THMs and keep sodium levels down in exchange for tolerating a slight film of scale on glassware – one that can easily be removed with periodic vinegar or CLR. The District continues to investigate non-salt based softening alternatives.
Some residents also note the “chlorine” taste in the water. The District uses diluted bleach for primary disinfection. Depending on where houses are located and people’s sensitivity, the taste can be off-putting. Island Health requires the District to maintain a minimum level of free chlorine at the ends of the system. Variables such as chlorine effectiveness decay with time and temperature, low flow in at dead-ends, and fluctuations in total demand requires higher levels be maintained at disinfection locations to ensure water safety. However, a NSF 42 or 53 certified carbon filter such as a refrigerator filter, Brita jug, or under-sink cartridge, all changed at manufacturer’s recommended intervals, can easily remove the chlorine. More information is available at http://www.scottpointwaterworks.com/water-quality-2/in-house-filtration/.
During the period of hot, dry weather this past July to mid-September, water demand on the system was at an all time high. Several residents received large bills for consumption and our well levels were stressed more than usual. It is speculated that gardening was a contributing factor to the higher than normal demand.
The Trustees strongly recommend that any resident interested in keeping up a garden or vegetable plot that requires regular watering, install a rainwater capture system. If stored, enough rainfall occurs during the fall and winter months to more meet gardening needs. A medium sized tank, debris filter, and pump system capturing water from the eaves of a house or garage is easy to install and relatively inexpensive. More details from Salt Spring Watershed Protection Alliance and CRD are available on the website at http://www.scottpointwaterworks.com/water-conservation/rainwater-capture/
IN THE NEWS
You may have read that a report reviewing governance structures for water improvement districts on Salt Spring and an evaluation of the pros and cons of having a single entity operate all of the island’s systems has been delivered to CRD and the Ministry. The Trustees previously expressed their views to the CRD consultant. It is expected that this report will be available for further public consultation later this year.
Residents are encouraged to pay their bi-monthly water bill through Interac e-banking transfers. When doing so, please use the password written on your invoice – it should meet the password standards of most banks. Using your own custom password forces our billing administrator to guess or remember and can make the process more difficult.
GOING AWAY? – CLOSE YOUR SHUT-OFF VALVE
Residents are reminded that if you will be absent for 3 days or more, you MUST close your shut-off valve at the street (Note: your valve after the meter, not the District’s curb stop that requires a key). If a leak occurs at an unoccupied house without the valve closed, the resident will be liable for the full cost of all water used.