« Back to News

Drinking Water Quality

Posted on March 09, 2016



PEMBERTON, BC -The Village recently undertook a water conditioning assessment, sampling drinking water from 20 Pemberton homes, as a first step in determining how to improve the aesthetic quality of Pemberton's water. 

The results of this initial sampling, which occurred without the benefit of tap flushing, were unanticipated. Results revealed that the low pH of Pemberton's water is interacting with the plumbing fittings and fixtures of some houses to produce elevated levels of lead in drinking water. For some in the sample, lead concentrations were as high as 6 times the Maximum Acceptable Concentration (MAC) prescribed in the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality. Lead in drinking water can cause a number of adverse health effects, particularly for children, infants and unborn children.

The Village takes this matter very seriously, and in consultation with Vancouver Coastal Health and the Ministry of Health, is advising residents to flush their tap water until it turns cold prior to drinking it or using it for cooking, and NOT to boil water, which may increase the concentration of lead. Water that has become stagnant from sitting in pipes for prolonged periods of time, such as overnight or during vacations, is most at risk of being contaminated. Once the lines have been flushed, water collected for drinking water, cooking, preparing baby formula and teeth brushing can be stored in a suitable container and kept refrigerated to assist with water conservation.

"We want to reassure the public that there is NO lead contamination in the provision of drinking water to the citizens of Pemberton from our source. We test our water supply regularly at different locations and Vancouver Coastal Health has confirmed that the municipal water supply is safe to drink," said Pemberton Mayor Mike Richman. "How our low pH water interacts with the plumbing of some individual's homes is where we've discovered there is an issue, and we are taking immediate steps to do more testing, inform the public and take corrective action."

"The Village of Pemberton is following best practice in pursuing centralized treatment for pH adjustment to meet the Aesthetic Objectives of the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality," said Len Clarkson, Drinking Water Officer with Vancouver Coastal Health. "By enhancing the stability of the water it will be less reactive to metallic surfaces and will hopefully relieve the need for flushing."

Once the Village's water reaches a property line, plumbing becomes the responsibility of the individual homeowner. The Village is, however, working to find a universal solution and will be installing a water conditioning system that will raise the pH of the water. This will eliminate the corrosivity of the water and potential for lead contamination.

Pemberton's water supply is tested regularly and meets all provincial and federal health objectives. The Village will be conducting further tests, including taking pre and post flushing samples, to verify the results of this assessment, and will continue to update the public.

See the Fact Sheet for more information.

Questions can be directed to 604-894-6135, admin[AT]pemberton.ca.


Get updated with our newsletter