Interior Health has issued a public service announcement about the impact of the spill on our water quality.
We also got a communication from IH explaining that they were indeed aware that we are all on wells here. Lannea Parfitt, Communications Officer for Central Interior Health says: “the Global Okanagan story incorrectly quoted our spokesperson as saying that there were no wells within 18 kms, when what she said is that there were no registered water intakes within that distance (ie: no regulated intakes where surface water would be drawn from the river). Interior Health is aware that water is drawn from wells within that distance.”
There will be more reports, and the Ministry of Environment will be doing further testing. Nevertheless, Interior Health is quick with an advisement about the impact to our drinking water. Here is the press release which they issued this morning.
Tulameen River Tailings Spill – Impact to Water Quality
Interior Health wishes to advise areas residents that there is little or no impact to drinking water sources in the Coalmont and Tulameen areas as a result of the recent tailings spill breach from the Basin Coal Mine.
There are no regulated water systems in the Coalmont or Tulameen area that draw from surface water. All the water systems draw from well water and well water is unaffected by this spill. Information obtained from the Ministry of Environment water license database indicates that there are no surface water intakes until two to three kilometres upstream of Princeton.
For residents that source drinking water directly from the Tulameen River, it is anticipated that the river has flushed clear but if water appears discoloured, it is recommended that residents use bottled water until the water runs clear.
For people swimming on the river, Interior Health recommends that they take routine precautionary measures: Do not drink untreated surface water, keep eyes closed under water and vigorously towel dry off after swimming. If the water is turbid or discoloured, Interior Health recommends avoiding swimming.
Ministry of Environment is conducting sampling of the Tulameen River around Coalmont and Princeton to further confirm there are no impacts on water quality.
If residents have questions related to their drinking water quality, they can call IH Health Protection’s Penticton office at 250-770-5540.