Residents of small community near Golden reject costly water system despite aquifer contamination

Tap water contaminated

Residents of a small community near Golden have rejected construction of a community water system – despite contamination of their aquifer.

The Columbia Shuswap Regional District says residents of Nicholson "are not supporting any CSRD effort to develop a community water system or conduct further groundwater testing. 

"Without the community support and a willingness to pay for the cost of establishing services, the CSRD does not have the mandate to develop a water treatment system in the area at this time."

"The water is contaminated. This is a safety issue for residents," says CSRD Electoral Area A director Karen Cathcart. "We've reached out to residents and given options… At what point do we go to the province and say we need help? I'm at this point."

Preliminary investigation has found the most feasible option is an extension of Golden's water system at an estimated cost of $15 million. 

Nicholson residents were mailed information regarding the most recent water quality study results and possible infrastructure options, however, they did not indicate support for moving ahead with any type of community water system.

Nitrates above naturally occurring levels continue to be observed in Nicholson’s groundwater supply and, at times, have been measured at greater than maximum allowable concentrations.

A series of monitoring studies since 2005 have shown the Nicholson aquifer is being impacted by septic fields in the area.

Nitrates can pose a health risk, especially to pregnant women, infants, the elderly, and those with a weakened immune systems.

More BC News