Balfour boil water advisory lifted

A year after a new treatment plant was installed, Balfour’s boil water advisory has finally been lifted.

Regional director Ramona Faust and Ted Steacy

Regional director Ramona Faust and Ted Steacy

A year after a new treatment plant was installed, Balfour’s boil water advisory has finally been lifted.

Regional director Ramona Faust says a number of problems — from a lightning strike to turbidity issues — prevented the longtime order from being rescinded until now.

“It’s very good news,” she says. “It allows people to put in new homes, subdivisions to take place, and generally to know we’re providing good service to the public.”

The Regional District of Central Kootenay assumed control of the water system in January of last year from the Balfour Irrigation District.

The new treatment plant — which uses media and microfiltration followed by ultra violet and chlorine disinfection — was completed the following April.

However, since then several things have prevented removal of the boil advisory and a moratorium on new water system connections, both in place since 2000.

Faust says the system was struck by lightning, suffered a cracked pump house floor in near-flood conditions, and the water was unexpectedly turbid.

“We were trying to work out some issues with the plant. In some ways it wasn’t performing the way we wanted,” she says. “I commend the staff for hanging in there. They’ve had a lot to deal with.”

She adds the process to improve the community’s drinking water dates back at least three and a half years.

Residents voted overwhelmingly in September 2010 to turn their system over to the regional district, despite a rate increase.

The $750,000 upgrade — which would have gone ahead regardless of the outcome of the referendum — resulted in a 40 per cent larger capacity.

The system presently serves the equivalent of 275 homes.

Faust says while some residents may have wondered why it took so long to lift the boil order, she and others did their best to explain the hold-up.