We take the time to "Do It Right"

Call Us For a Free Quote

We have over 40 years of experience

Business Hours

Mon-Fri: 8am - 4pm
Weekends: Closed

Understanding Campbell River’s Water Quality

May 1, 2024

Nestled on the eastern shores of Vancouver Island, Campbell River boasts not only breathtaking landscapes but also a rich aquatic ecosystem that is as diverse as it is vital. From its pristine rivers and lakes to Discovery Passage, water plays an integral role in shaping the identity and livelihoods of those who call this coastal community home.

In this blog post, we embark on a journey beneath the surface to uncover the mysteries of Campbell River’s local water quality. As global concerns over environmental conservation and sustainability continue to rise, understanding the health of our waterways is more crucial than ever. Join us as we delve into the factors influencing water quality and what we can do to contribute.

Exploring Campbell River’s Tap Water 

Campbell River’s tap water primarily comes from the Campbell River Watershed, which runs from south of Sayward down to the end of Buttle Lake. The watershed is made up of several lakes and reservoirs, including John Hart Lake and McIvor Lake, which serve as the main sources of water for the city. The water is collected from these natural sources and then treated at water treatment facilities before being distributed to homes and businesses in Campbell River. The Fish and Wildlife compensation program has a great document available online regarding our watershed and their action plan.

The City of Campbell River also has a full section on water on their website. According to the site, The City of Campbell River’s drinking water is regulated by the Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) Drinking Water Officer.

Water suppliers must comply with the BC Drinking Water Protection Act and Regulation to maintain their operating permits and ensure safe, clean drinking water is supplied to the communities. The BC Provincial Government has adopted the Canadian Drinking Water Quality Guidelines which are established by the Federal-Provincial-Territorial governments.

The City’s water continues to meet the requirements set out in the guidelines. The City disinfects its water with ultra violet irradiation and chlorine. There is continuous 24-hour monitoring at treatment points. In the event of a water service disruption, alarms are triggered, and an on-call water operator will respond. The City also conducts weekly testing to ensure there are adequate amounts of chlorine throughout the distribution system.

Unfortunately, the last update on the City’s website is from May, 2013. They do, however, direct you to VIHA which has much more recent information, but we are still not able to find recent readings. Reviewing the FAQ section on the City’s water tab we note the following;

  1. How is our drinking water treated to keep it safe?
    Because the source for our drinking water has naturally low sediment and mineral content, the City only disinfects our water at one ultraviolet light facility and three chlorination stations.
  2. Do I need to buy a water softener?
    No, Campbell River’s drinking water is soft at 22 mg/L. Water is considered soft at 60mg/L, hard at 200mg/L and unacceptable at 500mg/L for domestic purposes. Hard water is a result of dissolved minerals in water as it passes through soil and rock. Usually ground water is harder than surface water. Water softeners are available to reduce the hardness of water.
  3. Do we have fluoride in our water?
    The community voted to discontinue the addition of fluoride to drinking water in a 1993 referendum. We suggest you consult your dentist if you require fluoride treatment.
  4. What is the pH of our water?
    The pH scale ranges between 0 – 14. The lower end of the scale is acidic, the higher end is alkaline, and 7 is neutral. City of Campbell River drinking water has an average of 7.08 pH.

A water pH of 7.08 is considered to be close to neutral, as the neutral pH is 7.0. Water with a pH of 7.08 is generally safe for consumption and does not typically require filtration solely based on its pH level.

However, it’s important to note that pH is just one factor to consider when evaluating water quality. Other factors such as the presence of contaminants, minerals, and impurities can also affect the overall quality and taste of the water. We do know the city has naturally low sediment and mineral content and we can be a part of reducing contaminants and impurities at home and work.

Chlorine in the Water Supply

One topic not yet explored is the residual chlorine content after passing through the City’s three chlorination stations. Looking at the last reading from May 2013, there are two readings for chlorine, free chlorine and total chlorine. Free chlorine is basically what is available to sanitize, and total chlorine includes combined chlorine (which is not included in the city’s report). For the sake of this article, we will use the Shetland/Petersen water station which reports .59 free chlorine and .64 total chlorine – these numbers are well below the maximum acceptable limit set by Health Canada.

Measures you can take to Improve Water Quality

You can take a few simple steps to improve the water quality that you, your family and your community are consuming. These are our favorites:

Removing Chlorine from Water: there are several types of water filters that can reliably remove chlorine from water:

  1. Activated Carbon Filters: These filters use activated carbon to adsorb chlorine and its byproducts, effectively removing them from the water.
  2. Reverse Osmosis Filters: Reverse osmosis systems can remove chlorine along with other contaminants by forcing water through a semipermeable membrane.
  3. Distillation Systems: Distillation involves heating water to create steam, leaving behind chlorine and other impurities, which are then collected as purified water condenses.
  4. UV Filters: Ultraviolet (UV) water purification systems utilize UV light to disinfect water, effectively neutralizing chlorine and other harmful microorganisms.
  5. Ion Exchange Filters: Ion exchange filters can remove chlorine ions from water by exchanging them with less harmful ions, such as sodium or potassium.

When selecting a water filter, it’s essential to consider factors such as filter type, effectiveness, maintenance requirements, and cost to ensure it meets your specific needs and preferences. We can assist with this; it falls within the scope of our services. Alternatively, either allow the water to stand for a few days or alternatively, boil it prior to use to dechlorinate water.

Regular Maintenance of Septic Systems: Proper maintenance of septic systems is crucial to prevent groundwater contamination. Ensure regular inspection and pumping of septic tanks to prevent leaks and minimize the risk of harmful pathogens entering water sources.

Reducing Chemical Usage: Minimize the use of household chemicals like pesticides, fertilizers, and cleaning agents that can leach into groundwater and surface water. Opt for eco-friendly alternatives and follow proper disposal practices to mitigate water pollution. Everything that gets flushed, washed down the drain or applied to the exterior of a property runs off to the watershed.

Rainwater Harvesting: Utilize rain barrels or cisterns to collect rainwater for non-potable uses like gardening and landscaping. This reduces demand on municipal water supplies and prevents stormwater runoff, reducing the burden on local water treatment facilities.

Promoting Native Plant Landscaping: Planting native vegetation in gardens and landscapes helps absorb rainwater, reduce erosion, and filter pollutants before they reach water bodies. Native plants are adapted to local conditions and require less water and maintenance compared to exotic species.

Community Engagement and Advocacy: Get involved in local initiatives and community groups focused on water conservation and pollution prevention. Advocate for sustainable practices and policies that prioritize water quality protection and restoration efforts in Campbell River.

It’s now easier than ever to Book Online for speedy service if there are concerns that have been raised from this article.