Operating Conditions required by Interior Health Authority
In May of 2003, the Drinking Water Protection Act and corresponding regulations were brought in to force modernize drinking water protection in B.C. Overseen by the Ministry of Health and its newly appointed drinking water officers in each of the province’s five health regions, the act requires:
- certified operators for water systems,
- more thorough water system assessments, and
- ongoing water quality monitoring and reporting.
In the Okanagan, for example, the Interior Health Authority (IHA) has applied the following conditions to the operating permits of water systems serving more than 1000 people. They are required to:
Provide certified operators
Certified operators are trained to ensure water intended for drinking is collected, treated, and distributed in accordance with current industry and health standards. GEID's operators are continuously training and upgrading their levels of certification as required through B.C.’s Environmental Operators Certification Program.
Provide a Drinking Water Sampling Program
Ongoing water sampling assures a utility that the water it delivers is potable. It also provides invaluable information upon which the utility can base current and future collection, treatment, and distribution decisions. GEID has developed a sampling program that assesses the quality of water delivered to customers and reports the results of these tests to the IHA.
Provide continuous on-line turbidity sampling and recording of raw water for each surface source
Cloudy or turbid water is caused by the presence of very fine suspended particles. In addition to being unpleasant, turbidity reduces the effectiveness of the chlorine used to kill bacteria. GEID has done continuous on-line turbidity sampling and recording daily since 2000. Results provide us notice of changes or potential problems in water quality.
Provide continuous on-line monitoring of the disinfection process
The Drinking Water Protection Act requires all surface water sources intended for drinking to be disinfected. Primary disinfection with chlorine inactivates microbes (e.g. bacteria, viruses) at the head of the distribution system, while secondary disinfection throughout the remainder of the distribution system prevents bacterial regrowth and reduces health risk from any accidental contamination. GEID has done continuous on-line monitoring of the disinfection process since 2000. Results show that we are continuously able to meet our disinfection requirements.
Perform Giardia performance monitoring calculations as prescribed by the Public Health Engineer
Giardia is a parasite introduced into water supplies by human and animal activity in watersheds. Giardia cysts (which cause beaver fever) are sometimes present in raw water, but are rendered harmless if adequate time with chlorine is maintained. GEID has successfully controlled Giardia to date.
Provide a cross connection control program
A cross connection is any physical link between a potable (drinking) water system and a non-potable liquid that can allow the contaminated liquid to enter the drinking water system through backflow. A cross connection control program requires backflow prevention devices and frequent testing to prevent contamination. GEID introduced a cross connection control program in 2000.
Provide a Well Protection Plan for each well source
GEID, in conjunction with the Kelowna Joint Water Commity, has completed Phase II of the groundwater protection planning project for the Kelowna Basin Aquifer.
Review and update Emergency Response Plan annually
B.C.’s Drinking Water Protection Act requires each water supplier to have a written emergency response and contingency plan “to be implemented in the event of an emergency or abnormal operation circumstances affecting its water supply system or drinking water source.” Included in each plan is a communication strategy outlining when and how the utility will inform all stakeholders of a potential emergency. GEID updates its emergency response plan annually, with input from the IHA.
Provide long-term plans for source, treatment, and distribution system improvements
All systems must look ahead and plan for upgrading their systems to meet future treatment and development needs. To that end, GEID continues to explore options that will best suit the District and its ratepayers.
Report prescribed monitoring results to the Public Health Engineer monthly
The GEID provides a monthly summary of its ability to control Giardia with chlorine. Additional monthly reports include the following: daily water consumption, turbidity, biological test results, chlorine residuals, and comments on source, treatment and distribution system events.