Greater Vernon water source shut off due to high algae in Kalamalka Lake

Algae forces water change

The Kalamalka Lake water source will be shut off for Greater Vernon water customers due to an increase in algae.

The Kal Lake source will be shut off on Sunday, while the switch to the Duteau Creek source will take place this afternoon.

"Customers on the Kalamalka Lake source may have noticed a difference in the taste and smell of the water," says Tricia Brett, water quality manager for the Regional District North Okanagan. "Algae levels are not exceeding a level that poses a health risk, but the RDNO is switching water sources out of an abundance of caution."

The RDNO is unsure what caused the increase in algae, but suspects previous flooding and unusual weather patterns are part of the reason.

"Boiling water is NOT an effective or recommended action when algae is present," says Brett.

"Again, algae is not at a level where health risks are a concern, but customers can choose to use in-house filtration systems, such as Brita filters, while the source switch is taking place. Customers should start to notice improved water quality soon."

Greater Vernon Water is looking into filtration on the Kalamalka Lake source, and different filtration methods are being tested for the Mission Hill water treatment plant pilot study.

"Customers who are not normally on the Duteau Creek source will notice that the water is much softer and has a low alkalinity and pH," adds Brett. "This may be of interest to those customers who have in-home water treatment systems or aquariums."

RDNO staff will continue to monitor water quality and will provide updates as necessary.

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