Update on White Rock Orange Tides

It has been confirmed that this is rust (Iron Oxide) coming from our pipes and leaking into the ocean through the Anderson storm drains. That our water infrastructure is rusting does not surprise us, but that City Hall spent over $15M to purchase the water works from EPCOR in a secret deal and refuses to provide the public with the details of the plan until the next election should have everyone demand that those details be released immediately!

Orange Tides in White Rock

What is causing this orange water at our beach? The city speculates that it may be organic material, but orange algae blooms occur in the ocean, not in storm sewers as is happening in this case. This has happened before. It happened in early June 2014, and also in 2007.

One research scientist examined a sample of the orange slime coming from the Anderson storm sewer, and said it looked like simple inorganic Iron Oxide (aka rust!). The samples are still being tested, but it seems unlikely that this is organic material since the orange water was coming directly from the Anderson storm drains, and were emptying into the beach.

Could this rust be coming from our water mains that White Rock paid EPCOR over $15M for? Could this be why over 500 residents had complained recently of brown muddy water coming out of their tapes in the last few weeks?

All speculation at this point, but we will keep you informed as we learn more.
For more, read the May 8th Peace Arch News article here.
Orange Waters in White Rock - May 8th from Anderson Outflow

Chloramine in our drinking water?

Please join the White Rock Safe Water Alliance. Help us make sure that White Rock residents can have safe water to drink. Due to over 500 complaints of brown muddy water, the city is reversing last year’s promise, and now adding Chloramine to your drinking water. Your water may look cleaner, but it now contains even more chemicals in it. Chloramine is known to leach lead out of existing pipes, and is also deadly to marine life as was seen when Surrey tried to introduce Chloramine several years ago. The Chloramine decimated the salmon fry in nearby creeks. If Surrey decided adding Chloramine was a mistake for them, can Chloramine be a good choice for White Rock?
No Chloramine
Fraser Health told us that they prefer that White Rock should be connected to Vancouver City water through Surrey. Later, Fraser Health met with City Councillors in a meeting closed to the public, where Fraser Health insisted that the Peace Arch Hospital be connected to GVRD water to ensure that the hospital had access to safe clean drinking water in the event of a similar fire that occurred in Five Corners last May 19th, when the top 3 floors of the hospital had no water, and a Boil Water Advisory was mandated soon afterwards.

If our water is not good enough for the Peace Arch Hospital, is it good enough for you? 
Public Upset about Chloramine on May 1st City Council Meeting

White Rock Council Approves Adding Chloramine to your Tap Water, ignoring Health and Environmental Impacts

Despite some raucous vocal opposition from a number of the Public in attendance, White Rock Council unanimously endorsed proceeding ahead with Chloramination of White Rock water at tonight’s Council Meeting.

Greg St. Louis had Dr. Saad Jasim, the Ph.D utility manager, give some mumbo-jumbo presentation with lots of dry, unintelligible data, graphs and excerpts from reports which were not cited or footnoted.

Dan Bottrill spun a few yarns, crowed indignantly about the City’s transparency on the water utility and acted as if the knowledge that ammonia existed naturally in White Rock well water was some new, previously unknown profound revelation.

Not true!

EPCOR knew about this all along and if you look at Greg St. Louis’s Report of December 14, 2015 (found here),  which was his first attempt to chloraminate White Rock water, this is plainly stated in the last paragraph of page 26. But Council who spoke suggested tonight that this was all brilliant news to them.   

Dan Bottrill was reminded that the City knew about this at least as early as May of 2015 when a secret meeting was held between EPCOR,  Fraser Health and the City to secretly all sign off to make the switch from Chlorine to Chloramine. Throughout its TWQM Project, EPCOR swore up and down that Chlorine, not Chloramine was the best disinfectant for White rock water. But apparently,  EPCOR’s consultants had made some boo boos on the White Rock well water quality. I guess they miscalculated the manganese. EPCOR did bench tests in April 2015 which showed that  Chloramine brought “whiter whites”. This, no doubt was presented at the secret May 2015 EPCOR, Fraser Health and city of White Rock meeting.

The City slyly out of nowhere used this “whiter whites” pitch it in their October 15, 2015 “Water Utility Community Forum”, some material from which can be found here:

I have scanned the city’s Chloramine Brings Whiter Whites sheet from Oct 15, 2015 Water Utility Community Forum here. Note that the date of the “bench scale tests” is April 2015, long before the City consummated its water utility purchase deal on August 28, 2015.

So that is the City’s gimmick. “Ammonia is already in the water naturally, so why not add pails more if it can mask and conceal the high level of manganese in the system to make the water look better than what it really is”.  Personally, there is a world of difference to me between dealing with naturally occurring ammonia (it is higher at the Merklin wells than it is at the Oxford wells) and adding pails of it in concentrated chemical form to the water.
[Editor’s Note: It is dishonest to suggest that because trace amounts of a substance is already in the water, that adding more is ok. Trace amounts of arsenic are required for the body to function, but adding much more arsenic to your drinking glass can kill you. Similarly, your blood is composed of thousands of chemicals many of which, when taken in excess, can be harmful. Click on the picture below for more details. Science – When Used Properly, Reduces the Stupid!]

Blood Components - Science. It reduces the stupid

Neither Dr. Jasim, Dan Bottrill nor anyone on Council discussed any of the “disadvantages” of Chloramine. No one mentioned even the disadvantages of Chloramine that St. Louis noted on page 27 of his December 14, 2015 Report – “impacts to the environment… toxic to fish and amphibians….does not dissipate by standing or boiling”. So there was not one mention or concerns expressed about any possible adverse health affects to humans, how it is less effective than chlorine on certain viruses and bacteria, how it  leaches metals like lead from pipes and pits piping more, how it impacts rubber fitting in plumbing and so forth and so forth.

It was quite an orchestrated event, craftily although obviously played out and no doubt this was the previous topic of more than one secret Council meeting.

Rally updates will follow.

One suggested option is to Chloramine Rally hold  in conjunction with the City’s 60th Birthday Party on April 29 at the Centennial Arena which takes place between 11am to 9pm.

More later.

 Dennis, Member of the White Rock Safe Water Alliance

 Dennis against Chloramine

City Council Reverses its Decision to Add Chloramine to White Rock Water!

An interesting day today. About 175 people braved the cold to rally at City Hall at noon to protest the intended use of Chloramine in our water. Thank you to all who were able to attend.

This evening, Fraser Health made a presentation to City Council on water disinfectants, after which all six Councillors and the Mayor discussed the Chloramine vs Chlorine topic before a Council Chambers packed by the Public that overflowed into the lobby.

At the end of the lengthy discussion, Councillor Lawrence made a motion to seek a time limit extension from Fraser Health to extend the June 1, 2016 deadline for a water disinfectant to enable the City to get in place an Arsenic and Manganese Reduction /Removal Plant. As the second part of the motion, Chlorine, NOT Chloramine, is to be used as the water disinfectant in the interim. All seven people on Council voted in favour of this motion.

While time will tell what sort of latitude Fraser Health will allow, thank you to all who helped ensure that White Rock City Council took a second look at Chloramine.


[Editor’s note – Read more about the Rally in the Peace Arche news here: http://www.peacearchnews.com/news/364923411.html ]

Andrew on Bridge

White Rock Residents say Whoa! to Chloramine in drinking water!

Read the Jan 7th background story in the Province by Jennifer Saltman

The use of Chloramine and the Potential for Damage to Aquatic Life


White Rock City Hall
15322 Buena Vista Ave,
White Rock, BC V4B 1Y6
January 5, 2016

Mayor: Wayne Baldwin and Council

Re: The use of Chloramine and the Potential for Damage to Aquatic Life

As you may know, on October 17, 1989 and July 9, 1990 there occurred two breaks in Surrey water mains that dumped chloramine-laced water into the Fergus Creek, which is a sub catchment of the Little Campbell River (LCR). The extreme damage to fish and benthic invertebrates officially took almost a decade for recovery but we know some damage was permanent. In fact it is only with huge recent investments by the City of Surrey, the Department of Highways and local volunteer organizations that Fergus Creek is what it is today. Some White Rock storm water flows into the LCR, some of it via Fergus Creek.

These events were a huge wake-up call. It was because of the above-mentioned spills that the Greater Vancouver Regional District followed up on this disaster by conducting extensive public consultation and then deciding on Chlorine over Chloramine for the entire Lower Mainland. Our members have seen government at all levels deal with scheduled and unscheduled pollution and have witnessed many types of failure. We recently watched the aftermath of an accident-damaged fuel tank on a truck that had poured hundreds of gallons of diesel directly into the main stem of the Little Campbell River. Firefighters and Ministry of Environment responders showed themselves hopelessly ill prepared for such an accident with inadequate oil absorption supplies. Nobody wants these kinds of disasters to fish bearing streams and while diesel fuel is toxic, some of it will evaporate but chloramine will not.

An issue unique to White Rock is the non-point pollution aspect of chloramine. It’s common knowledge that many of the strata units in White Rock contain dedicated car washes within their concrete parkades. All water from this type of activity plus power washing of parkade slabs goes directly to the ocean through storm drains. On top of that, on-street car washing, pressure washing and a portion of the at home and strata irrigation garden watering is sent directly by storm drains to the Semiahmoo Bay. Then there are city owned automatic sprinklers especially along the waterfront that suffer breakages from time to time.
Based on many years of combined watershed experience we know that very little of the water involved in the cleaning of water mains, accidental breakage of water mains, and admittedly the rare event of firefighting will ever be effectively treated to neutralize the chloramine in the water. It is a fact that chloramine run-off from water hydrants or broken mains that enter storm drains, streams, and rivers, endangers the lives of fish, amphibians, water invertebrates, and other sensitive marine animals.

There is a significant amount of evidence that identifies “vacated” and “dead” zones in marine areas adjacent to inhabited areas that use chloramine. Of course people will say that’s correlation not causation, as no one will underwrite the necessary science. The data gaps are still huge, but the people that know those areas still know what they know and chloramine is suspect.

Chloramine, which is an extremely persistent compound, is a dangerous substance in water and has been locally proven to destroy fish and benthic organisms in rivers and streams and has the potential to destroy sea life close to the ocean outfalls in Semiahmoo Bay.

The Semiahmoo First Nations once relied on the abundance of sea life in Semiahmoo Bay but over the years point and non-point pollution reduced the tens of thousands of fish available to them to just a few hundred. The abundant clams and other molluscs, which were once available all year around, were polluted too. Even the crab fishing has been diminished and here we have the City of White Rock wanting to pollute the ocean with another toxic pollutant.

The Canadian EPA ruled chloramine “toxic” as defined in Section 64 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, as a result of a study assessing the impact of chloraminated water discharges entering the environment, particularly on fish.

Research states that chloramine must be filtered out before it reaches bodies of water. Does White Rock really have a tested, comprehensive plan to do this and will there be a surcharge for Chloramine contaminated sewage being sent to the wastewater treatment plants in Metro before being dumped into the Gulf of Georgia?

Will you be engaging and consulting in a comprehensive review on this issue of Chloramine in the drinking water like the GVRD in the early 1990’s?

Please know that we are completely opposed to chloramine being used in White Rock water and will advocate in every possible venue against it.

There was a time when the citizens of White Rock were proud and boasted of their pure drinking water and people from miles around would come and drink the water and remark on how wonderful and different the water tasted right from the tap. It was not unusual for visitors to take jugs of water home. We understand there is a complex and changing regulatory environment. We also believe that introducing chloramine into this once pristine water supply has the potential for causing many unintended consequences.

Phillip Milligan
Little Campbell Watershed Society
1284-184th Street, Surrey, BC V3Z 9R9

c.c. Rebecca Reid, Regional Director, Fisheries Management, DFO
c.c. Bruce Reid, Regional Oceans Manager, DFO
c.c. City of Surrey Dept. of Environment and Drainage
c.c. Semiahmoo First Nation
c.c. Drayton Harbor Shellfish Protection District
c.c. Friends of Semiahmoo Bay
c.c. Surrey Environmental Partners