Stephen Hume: Effluent linked to contaminated water in Okanagan

Posted in: Global Water News, Water Contamination
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This aquifer is in the township of Spallumcheen near Armstrong, west of Enderby. Photos are of agricultural spraying of the manure effluent associated with contamination of the aquifer. (Photo Credit: Al Price , Special to The Sun)

Article courtesy of STEPHEN HUME | Feb 1, 2016 | The Vancouver Sun | Shared as educational material

British Columbia’s provincial government approved large-scale discharges of a pollutant even though it knew it was the probable source of contamination for an aquifer and posed a health risk for at least 250 people in the Okanagan municipality of Spallumcheen.

The municipal district is a largely agricultural community that sprawls between and around the towns of Armstrong and Enderby.

Victoria law student Rachel Gutman and Calvin Sandborn, legal director of the University of Victoria’s Environmental Law Centre, filed a formal request Monday with Interior Health’s chief medical health officer, Dr. Trevor Corneil, asking that public health authorities use their power under the Drinking Water Protection Act to order a “complete and permanent moratorium” on the discharges.

The application, filed on behalf of concerned residents, says tests at several well sites tapping the Hullcar aquifer in Spallumcheen show that since March 14, 2014, nitrate levels in drinking water have frequently exceeded maximum allowable limits.

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