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Kelowna: Drinking the Okanagan

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Okanagan Lake winds between Kelowna (foregroun...

Okanagan Lake winds between Kelowna (foreground) and Westbank (background). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Kelowna was incorporated in 1905 and is located in the interior of BC on the shores of Okanagan Lake. The lake is the primary source for Kelowna’s drinking water, as well as an attraction for recreation and fishing. There are four distributors of water in the Kelowna region, and the City of Kelowna Water Utility is the one that serves the majority of urban residents.

How is Kelowna’s Drinking Water Treated?

Like Victoria and other BC cities, the required treatment is minimal. Until 1995, only chlorination was used to disinfect drinking water for human consumption. At that time, UV treatment was added at each intake site to neutralise contaminants like giardia and cryptosporidium, which allowed for a reduction in the amount of chlorine needed to ensure disinfection. Continuous testing indicates that the THM levels are well below the acceptable levels outlined in the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality, and as of 1996 Kelowna stopped fluoridating drinking water for dental health purposes – though natural fluoride still occurs in the lake in levels (but well below Health Canada’s limits).

Because the Okanagan is an abundant agricultural center, concern has been raised over herbicide and pesticide use and its entry into source water tributaries. Okanagan Lake is fed by numerous creeks and streams which could increase the instances of contaminated runoff entering the lake. However tests have not found significant chemical contaminants to indicate that pesticides have polluted the lake. Common chemicals used in pesticides and herbicides are tested for according to the Drinking water Guidelines. In the 1980’s there was concerns over the levels of phosphorous in the lake due to outfall from waste water treatment plants, however recent improvements to sewage treatment plants in Kelowna have radically reduced the amount of phosphorous found in waste water effluent.

So is Kelowna’s Drinking Water the best in BC?

Because Kelowna’s source water is a lake, and because there is little in the way of filtration, sometimes drinking water can suffer from turbidity and occasionally odors due to algal blooms. Turbidity refers to suspended particles in the water, including silt, clay, organic and inorganic matter, plankton and other microscopic organisms that are found more frequently in ground water sources like lakes, rivers and streams. Kelowna offers automated email updates of turbidity levels and will offer boil water advisories when the levels get too high, because these particulates can shield viruses and parasites from disinfection, who avoid the disinfectants by attaching themselves to the suspended particulate.

How Can Kelowna’s Residents Ensure Water Quality, Even In Times Of High Turbidity?

Reverse Osmosis water filtration systems will ensure drinking water quality by removing both the suspended particulates and the disease-causing bacteria that may be present during times of high turbidity. A home water filtration system also has the added benefit of improving the taste of your family’s drinking water by removing the organic matter and the remaining chlorine. For more information on how  reverse osmosis water filtration system can benefit you and your family, contact us how, or visit our online store.

If you’re at all concerned about contaminants in your water, or you simply want to be certain, you should choose an Aquasafe Home Reverse Osmosis System. An Aquasafe Home Reverse Osmosis system will remove all contaminants from water, including hormones and pharmaceuticals, producing guaranteed safe water you can count on every time. And it’s only a few cents per liter! Shop online and save today.

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