By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: Aug. 4, 2012
Water Hazard rating has remained high for Evans Lake Campground for the past two years, prompting boiled water advisories by the Vancouver Coastal Health.
The camp, which hosts 70 children during busy summer months, has been on and off the boiling water advisory list since 2008.
Camp administrator Russ Paton said the advisory was not because of any contamination, but because of a requirement for a higher level of treatment.
A new well is being constructed, and bottled water is being used for drinking and all the water used in the kitchen is boiled.
“We also passed our kitchen/facility health inspection with no issues this summer while under the boil water advisory and enjoy the highest accreditation level with BC Camping Association,” he said.
A ‘high’ hazard rating means significant problems were noted relating to the safety of the water.at the time of inspection,
“When we put a system on boil water advisory, we don’t have the confidence the water is safe,” said Len Clarkson, the VCH inspector who conducted the
“It doesn’t prove the water is dangerous, we can’t be certain the water is safe.”
A shallow well that served as a water source seemed to be the source of contamination. Records show water samples tested positive for coliform and E.Coli on three occasions for at least two years.
The Reporter obtained drinking water inspection reports for Squamish, and found that Evans Lake forest education was one of the only facility rated for a ‘high’ health hazard by the provincial health inspector.
Four samples submitted in 2010 came back with a coliform count of one, and one was also found to have an E.coli count of one.
The source of contamination, the health inspector concluded, is most likely due to the existing shallow well which serves as a source of supply
“It could be due to either incoming contaminants or shedding of bio-film from the interior surfaces,” the inspector notes.
Last year’s samples also showed traces of coliform bacteria and E coli.
Out of the 84 samples submitted in 2011, nine were tested positive for coliform bacteria, while two were tested positive for E. coli.
Clarkson said aging infrastructure is a problem.
“It’s been a few years, and we are interested in seeing what progress has been made,” Len Clarkson said.
Camp administrator Paton said the problem with old well was not contamination, but low water level in dry summers.
The construction for the new well is underway, Paton added.
“We are a non-profit society, and we didn’t have a lot of funds sitting around, so we were not able to do this right away,” said Russ Paton from Evans Lake.
District of Squamish water supply has been excellent, according to the reports.
Of the 243 samples collected, none were positive for either total coliform or E. coli.
The District of Squamish is currently underway with an RFP to advance the well protection plan. The last time the district had a high hazard rating was in 2005.