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Old Posted Mar 26, 2013, 8:53 PM
AmericanGuy AmericanGuy is offline
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Is your cities tap water safe to drink?

Not sure how old this article is, but i found it interesting because i always thought Canada would have safe water.

How does your cities water taste like? Does it have any flavor? Odor? I know water in some areas in Ontario tastes like sewage water.

British Columbia Water Among Worst in Canada

Source: Canadian Press

The province of British Columbia has some of the worst drinking water in Canada and some of the country's lowest standards governing quality, according to the most recent report.

There have been at least 29 confirmed waterborne disease outbreaks caused by microorganisms such as Giardia, Cryptosporidium, toxoplasma and campylobacter, the provincial health officer reported.

"Many of the outbreaks were the result of water-system failures or the absence of adequate treatment," warned the report, published in 2000. "Tens of thousands of British Columbians have been affected during these known outbreaks."

The report stated that "for a number of years, B.C. has had the highest rate of enteric (intestinal) illness of all the provinces in Canada."

Deputy provincial health officer Dr. Shaun Peck said things have not improved much since that report. "There's still a lot to be done to improve drinking water," he said.

Dr. Peck said the provincial government is working on a "drinking water action plan" in which the 3,500 source-to-tap water systems across B.C. will be studied. But the results of that study, including fixes, will take five to 10 years to implement.

Meanwhile, a recent report by the Sierra Legal Defense Fund also found startlingly high incidences of water problems.

"On any day in B.C. there are roughly 300 boil-water alerts. In some of those systems the alert has been there for years. That's about 10 per cent of all water systems in B.C," said staff lawyer Randy Christensen.

"This number is much higher than most other provinces in Canada," said the health officer's report. It pointed out that most of the advisories were on water systems serving between 15 and 5,000 people, representing fewer than one per cent of the B.C. population.

Both reports pointed out that the water systems in Vancouver and Victoria are of good quality and will improve as new systems are put in place.

A new $500-million water filtration plant is being built in North Vancouver District that will use ultraviolet light to disinfect drinking water. A $40-million ozone-based water treatment plant opened in Coquitlam last year.

It's the smaller, older systems run by people with little training that are at risk.

The health minister's report said that "on average, 76 critical hazards are found each year during inspections conducted by environmental health officers."

But only one-quarter of water systems receive routine inspection each year, the report said.

Christensen said much of B.C.'s water systems operate in difficult, steep terrain influenced by logging, mining and development. Yet B.C. has some of the weakest standards to protect the systems, he said.

"There isn't much in place in B.C. in terms of watershed protection. That's a big issue, because we have steep geography and lots of land uses such as logging and mining that can be potentially threatening," he said.

"Given its inherent risks, B.C. has some of the weakest legislation. It should have some of the strongest legislation."

Christensen also pointed out that B.C. waterborne disease rates are about twice as high as those in neighboring Washington state, which imposes much more stringent regulations.

He said the U.S., Quebec and Ontario have roughly 80 standards governing chemical and other contaminates while B.C. has only three.

Dr. Peck says it's "consumer beware" where B.C.'s drinking water is concerned.

"We mustn't take it for granted. Just because the water tastes good coming out of the tap doesn't mean you can't get sick from it," Dr. Peck said.
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  #2  
Old Posted Mar 26, 2013, 9:03 PM
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Water in Ottawa is good. The local TV station even did a blind taste test between tap, filtered and bottled water on the street and city tap water won hands down:
http://ottawa.ctvnews.ca/ottawa-s-ta...-test-1.726421
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Old Posted Mar 26, 2013, 9:05 PM
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Most of Canada is above par compared to the rest of the world in the cleanliness/freshness of our water. They used to talk about it on TV every now n then, maybe they still do?
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Old Posted Mar 26, 2013, 9:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AmericanGuy View Post
I know water in some areas in Ontario tastes like sewage water.
Which parts exactly?
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  #5  
Old Posted Mar 26, 2013, 9:10 PM
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A few facts and observations from here in BC:
I drink out of the tap everyday and it tastes great!
There is a boil water advisory across the river in a tiny rural area. They voted against joining the city which would have ended this advisory. Old skool thinkin over there haha.
According to the article less than 1% of people are affected by a boil water advisory. Too much still i agree but very few people affected.
Sounds like legislation in this province is a lot weaker than it should be.
Castlegar has just added uv filtration as a second barrier. Only because it was mandatory by the province.
Greenwood British Columbia won the best drinking water on planet earth this past year! About 90 minutes down the highway from here.
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Last edited by Denscity; Mar 26, 2013 at 9:34 PM.
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Old Posted Mar 26, 2013, 9:12 PM
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Winnipeg's water is good. We just had a new water treatment plant go online a few years ago. It made a huge difference in the quality of the water, especially during the summer months.

Bottled water is definitely a huge waste of money here.

Calgary, in my experience has equally good, if not just slightly better water than Winnipeg too.
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Old Posted Mar 26, 2013, 9:14 PM
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One of the lakes I frequent in a somewhat remote part of NWO has been under a blanket boil water notice for over a decade now. The people who live in the lake continue to drink the water daily, and have had it independently tested and it's clean and safe. But because some water source within 50km was shown as potentially risky a long while back, the order stands.

Sometimes I think this is just us being a bit too paranoid. Our modern mindset of "if it saves even one life, any consequence acceptable" really burns us a lot of the time.

NOTHING beats the taste of the slightly-acidic, spring-fed, granite-contained lakes in Ontario, btw.
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Old Posted Mar 26, 2013, 9:22 PM
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Calgary used to have some of the cleanest water in the world. Don't know if that is still true but outside of one isolated incident in one small area of the city last year, I have never heard of anything negative about our water.

I still buy bottled water simply cause I hate the taste of soap residue on cups from a dishwasher and I refuse to wash my cups by hand!
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  #9  
Old Posted Mar 26, 2013, 9:30 PM
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Calgary's tap water is pretty great. It still stands as the best tap water I've had. Though, I still buy bottled water (generally just club soda)... I like my water carbonated.
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Old Posted Mar 26, 2013, 9:46 PM
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Someone from Ontario told me once that "Calgary puts so many chemicals in it's water that it looks blue" I had to laugh at that one. It really is just that clear!

Pouring a bath in Calgary is really cool.
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  #11  
Old Posted Mar 26, 2013, 9:49 PM
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I live in a town just north of Winnipeg and the water is excellent. I find Winipeg's water good as well. As mentioned by another poster, they just built a new water treatment plant so the city has some of the best water in the country.

What do people here think of flouridation of water?
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Old Posted Mar 26, 2013, 9:56 PM
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Most if not all of Metro area here is supplied by the 2 Epcor plants.

We have some odor issues in the spring, and now that most large farms must contain their runoff there is less of an issue. Only time I see a boil water order is if there was a major breach of the supply system.

There are comments made during high water events but our water is treated pretty well. And all communities upstream of YEG are now treating their sewage as well.

And I know most communities have spent quite a bit of money on treatment plants. I’ve worked on quite a few and a lot in first Nations communities up in Northern Alberta.
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Old Posted Mar 26, 2013, 10:05 PM
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Tastes fine here.

LOOKS CLEAN TO ME!
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  #14  
Old Posted Mar 26, 2013, 10:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kw5150 View Post
Someone from Ontario told me once that "Calgary puts so many chemicals in it's water that it looks blue" I had to laugh at that one. It really is just that clear!

Pouring a bath in Calgary is really cool.
It must be because of our proximity to the actual source of the water - glaciers. It's basically the Lake Louise/Moraine Lake effect, must be just the sediments from the glacial mass staying with the water even until it reaches our homes. I love how blue the water of Western Alberta's rivers, lakes, and streams is
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  #15  
Old Posted Mar 26, 2013, 10:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kw5150 View Post
Someone from Ontario told me once that "Calgary puts so many chemicals in it's water that it looks blue" I had to laugh at that one. It really is just that clear!

Pouring a bath in Calgary is really cool.
Calgary: come for the jobs, stay for the cool baths.
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  #16  
Old Posted Mar 26, 2013, 10:51 PM
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I've never found water that tastes as good as Calgary's, but most people find that their hometown water tastes best. You get used to the taste, and all others taste different.

Calgary's water comes from two sources. The Bow River (north side residents) and the Elbow river (south side resident). Both are good, but the water from the Bow is among the best anywhere.
Here's why. The Bow is very cold, travels a good velocity, and the riverbed of the Bow is rock as as opposed to mud.... factors that affect the taste of water. Also the fact that there is very little urban development upstream helps too.

The cold temp, and rapid flow helps keeps organic matter from decaying and affecting the taste. Same with the rock bed.

At times you can taste the chlorine in the water, so here's a little tip. Pour a glass or jug of water and before drinking it, blow at the top of the glass. If you do that you'll never taste or smell Chlorine in the water.
Why? When the water is poured into a glass, the chlorine comes out in gas form and sits on top of the water, it's not actually in the water at that point..
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Old Posted Mar 26, 2013, 11:05 PM
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Wow that's cool! Thanks
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  #18  
Old Posted Mar 26, 2013, 11:20 PM
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Calgary's tap water is probably the best I've tasted in any major city, and second only to the tap water I've tasted when staying in Banff/Jasper.

Edmonton's can be pretty close to as good as Calgary's but not quite, and as mentioned by others, it's pretty seasonal, and can have a bit of an odor in late spring/early summer.
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Old Posted Mar 26, 2013, 11:31 PM
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It's basically spring water.
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Old Posted Mar 27, 2013, 12:13 AM
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Vancouver now boasts the purest tap water in the world. . . .

That's what they say anyway; it's always tasted very good to me with no identifiable taste, however the water is soft and causes things to turn green.
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