Chilliwack Water

Part of our community

Water quality is part of Chilliwack's identity. In 1997 and 1999 we were proud to be awarded best water in Canada by the Canadian Water Resource Association. Since that time Chilliwack has been recognized by the Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting as having some of the best tasting water in the world. Unfortunately, all of this could change without your help. Read more, sign the petition and share.

The Situation

The limited incidences of e coli in Chilliwack were most likely the result of bird and/or bat droppings finding their way into hilltop reservoirs. All of these issues were detected quickly because of the diligence and extra monitoring efforts of the city's public works staff and dealt with accordingly. Contrary to some of the misinformation being spread in the media our water is extremely clean and safe. The isolated areas where e coli was detected represent less than 3% of the households serviced by Chilliwack's public water system.

Understanding the Alternatives

There are several primary disinfectants instead of chlorination however neither UV or ozone are necessary in the case of our water supply. UV and ozone are forms of water treatment used at the water's source before it goes into distribution. Water systems with poor quality source water use UV as a primary treatment method to remove contaminants before they enter the distribution system. Because our water is perfectly clean and safe at its source a treatment such as UV is unnecessary.

Current system and Conditions

Ongoing weekly testing by the City shows no sign of e coli in the water system and e coli has in fact never been found in the main water system which serves 97% of Chilliwacks water users. It is important for people to remember - particularly those from outside of our community that may not have all the facts that this dispute is over the fact that at this time chlorination is unnecessary and as a result the negative health impacts outweigh any potential benefits at this time.

Chlorine Treatment

The Hidden Costs of Chlorination

While the initial cost of upgrading our water system and adding full time chlorination would only be about a 2% increase in water prices the real cost of chlorination comes when you treat or work around the chlorination. Adding an in line filtration system or using filtered pitchers for drinking water can cost as much as $300.00 per year, and going to a full in home filtration can cost a lot more. Switching to bottled water can easily cost $3000.00 per year.

Understanding the risks

While there are risks associated with our current water system such as e coli coliform these are risks that are understood and thus far have had no adverse effects on the health of any individuals.Our current systems is monitored 50 times per week, rather than the required 21, and when small incidences of e coli have been detected the affected areas have been sanitized promptly. The introduction of Chlorine to the water system unlocks a new issue, one which is largely unmonitored. DBPs or disinfection byproducts are a toxic byproduct resulting chlorine disinfection agents interact with organic matter. DBPs such as trihalomethanes, halonitromethanes, haloacetonitriles, hiodo-acids, nitrosamines and more are created. New studies show a strong association between long term exposure to DBPs and increased rates of bladder and colorectal cancer.

Speak Out

How can you help?

Not content to sit by and let your water be destroyed? Well you can help, if you havent already signed the petition please do-so; if you have signed the petition there is still lots to be done, talk to your friends and family, Contact your local elected officials and let your voice be heard.

Contact Fraser Health

Phone: 604-870-7919
Fax: 604-870-7901

or by mail to:
Fraser Health Authority
102 – 34194 Marshall Road
Abbotsford, BC
V2S 5E4

Contact the Minister of Health

You may also wish to forward questions or concerns to the office of the Minister of Health, the Honourable Dr. Margaret MacDiarmid.
Her office can be reached in the following ways;

By phone at 250-953-3547

Or by mail to:
Minister of Health
Room 337, Parliament Buildings
Victoria, BC
V8V 1X4