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RCMP investigating vandalized Greenwood water reservoir

Erin Perkins
By Erin Perkins
September 21st, 2012

The residents of Greenwood are reeling after the potential contamination of their drinking water was announced on Monday, Sept. 17.

“There is a level of stress in the community, especially for some of the older folks,” said Greenwood mayor Nipper Kettle. “Who ever did this — it is ludicrous. It is unthinkable who would do a thing like this.”

While the city gets tests done and addresses the issue of making water available to people in the community, Midway RCMP are investigating the situation.

On Monday, Sept. 17 at 4 p.m. a city employee discovered the lock on the community water resevoir had been removed. Although nothing seemed amiss, the city has to take every precaution and assume the worst.

Midway RCMP became involved later that day. Unfortunately, before RCMP attended, there was a lot of people who walked all over the crime scene, making it difficult to gather any forensic information, said Grand Forks RCMP staff sergeant Jim Harrison.

Harrison suspects that the person or people who did this did not intend to harm the water, but to steal copper piping and wire.

“This in not the first time this has happened,” said Kettle. “But the council of today will make sure there will be a security system in place after this. We have to secure our reservoir. The water source is still the best water in the world — the source is still safe.”

Greenwood residents are advised not to drink the water, brush their teeth or even wash their dishes in the tap water.

Testing being done now, results anticipated

On Tuesday, Sept. 18 water samples were prepared by Greenwood public works supervisor Randy Smith for testing by the Interior Health Authority. Kettle drove the water samples to the CARO Analytical Services in Kelowna. CARO is an environmental labratory that specializes in the microbiological and general chemical analysis of drinking water, wastewater and soil.

Kettle said CARO assured him the tests are a top priority for the lab, and hopes the results will be available in the next few days.

The results from CARO may allow the city to lift the do not use moritorium on the water to a boil advisory until even more BTEX tests have been conducted in Richmond. BTEX tests look for more elusive chemicals like benzene, tolune, ethyl and xylene.

Residents are still being advised not to use any of the water until the tests have been completed.

Alternative water sources available

The City of Greenwood has made arrangements for alternative water sources including a tanker truck, which will be parked at the Emcon Building between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. beginning today, Wednesday, Sept. 19.

Riverfront Park campground in Midway is opened. Residents can fill their own containers there or have a shower between dawn and dusk. Boundary Creek Provincial Park is another spot to fill your own containers from.

There is also bottled water available at the City Hall. There is a limit of six bottles per person per household.

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