Boil water advisory in effect for Lake Cowichan

Island Health issues advisory for Lake Cowichan as turbidity creeps up to 1.5 NTU

Residents of Lake Cowichan are once again being asked to boil their water before consumption, after Island Health issued another boil water advisory for the town.

The current boil water advisory, issued last Sunday morning (Feb. 8), follows closely behind the last one, which ended on Jan. 6 after nearly a month.

Water quality tests performed on Sunday morning showed turbidity a level of 1.5 NTU. The town saw similar levels from late December until early January, before levels returned below 1.0 NTU, though turbidity levels reached at least 2.06 NTU around Christmastime.

While speaking to the Gazette last month, Nagi Rizk, the town’s superintendent of Public Works, attributed the rare occurrence to the ascending standards of Island Health, rather than an actual decline in water quality. He said that a newly implemented policy by the organization requires them to deem any water source above the 1.0 threshold unfit to drink (without boiling), while drinking water was previously graded on a sliding scale. The town’s Chief Administrative Officer Joe Fernandez echoed that boil water advisories were relatively unheard of in Lake Cowichan prior to last December.

Town councillor Bob Day expressed concern over the boil water advisory returning as early as Jan. 6, when he speculated during a council meeting that “every time the water rises to Saywell Park, we’ll be getting a boil water advisory. I have a feeling we’ll be boiling water again in February.”

In the meantime, residents are reminded to boil their water for at least one minute before consuming it.