Is any amount of Arsenic, Manganese, Chloramine and other chemicals safe in your water? An Interview with Dennis Lypka.

UBC Associate Professor Dr. Trevor Drummer, of the Cancer Prevention Centre at UBC, was in White Rock on July 26th, and used data and facts to show evidence that drinking White Rock water with high levels of arsenic poses a health risk. He added that in his opinion, he would not drink White Rock water with high arsenic levels, and believes that the current Health Canada Guideline needs to be reduced.

Mayor Wayne Baldwin has been quoted in the paper as saying “The arsenic does occasionally pop up, not from the whole system, but from one or two wells,” Baldwin said. “If it blends with the rest of the water, it’s OK, it’s not an issue.”

Mayor Baldwin says that IF this high arsenic water blends with the rest of the water, then it’s ok. What he failed to mention is that the city currently has no way to blend water in a controlled way to reduce arsenic levels. Listen to facts, not political spin.

Rather than listen to facts, Politicians provide Alternative-Facts that make themselves look good by minimizing the perception of health risks, while doing nothing to eliminate the risks themselves. Who do you believe?

How much Arsenic, Manganese, Chloramine and other chemicals is too much to be safe in your water? Dennis Lypka, one of the founding members of the White Rock Safe Water Alliance, discusses our water and health risks in the following interview.

Arsenic and its Impact on your Health – A Free Information Session, July 27th 7pm

To All White Rock Water Users:

Please feel free to spread this far and wide among White Rock water users.

Drinking Water, Arsenic, and Cancer

Well aware that Arsenic in drinking water can be a serious health issue because Arsenic is a known carcinogen, back on February 17, 2014, the Fraser Health Authority directed the EPCOR White Rock (EWR) Water Utility to prepare an Arsenic and Manganese Management plan that considered monitoring, options for managing arsenic and manganese levels, public education and outreach, and a contingency plan to address non-compliance with the maximum allowable concentration. Fraser Health also recommended that EPCOR conduct a risk assessment that considered the health, public and financial aspects of options for addressing arsenic and manganese.

EPCOR responded to Fraser Health on April 30, 2014 and EPCOR’s s response, entitled Arsenic and Manganese Risk Management Plan EPCOR White Rock Water System,is also attached.

In its response, EPCOR  provided its proposed plan to manage the arsenic and manganese levels in the White Rock system at that time (2014) and in the future including:

  • –  continued monitoring of arsenic and manganese levels in the system;
  • a treatment plan;
  • –  public education and communication plan; and
  • –  a contingency plan

However, unfortunately neither EPCOR nor the City of White Rock (who took over sole control, responsibility  and operation of the water utility in October of 2015) has done anything with respect to the requirement for an Arsenic and Manganese “public education and communication plan“.

Nor, unfortunately, has Fraser Health required either EPCOR or the City of White Rock as the water utility operator to comply to its past directions on “public education and outreach” about Arsenic and Managanese.

As a result, arrangements have been made by other concerned White Rock water users to bring in a guest speaker, Dr. Trevor Dummer, to speak about “Drinking Water, Arsenic and Your Health”. Dr. Dummer is an Associate Professor in the Cancer Prevention Centre at UBC and is an Investigator for the Canadian Cancer Society.      

Attendance is FREE and as will be noted on the attached poster, the meeting will take place as follows:

 7 PM Wednesday, July 26, 2017

 at the White Rock First United Church, 15385 Semiahmoo Avenue, White Rock.

Everyone is welcome, please try to attend and please feel free to spread this notice far and wide.

What’s in your Water?

That depends on which well you get your water from. Some wells are high in Manganese, while others are higher in Arsenic. The recommended maximum level for Manganese is 0.05 mg/L, while the maximum for arsenic is 0.01 mg/L.

Water Test Results - March 2017 - Highlighted

The above chart is from March 2017. How good is your drinking water?

White Rock Water: Why some residents have Brown Water while others have Clear. And why you should care…

White Rock water is not what it used to be. Ever since White Rock City Council voted to take over control of our water from EPCOR, over 500 residents have complained about problems with their drinking water.

If your water is coming out of the tap brown and smelly, it is because of where your water comes from and what your City Hall is doing to treat it. But if your water is clear and fresh smelling, do not relax as there may be more going on than you realize! Read on…

What you see out of the tap depends on which well you get your water from. Each of the wells in White Rock have their own unique chemistry. The city has claimed that it can blend the water from various wells to offset some of the higher levels of arsenic and manganese in some wells, but we have seen no evidence that they can actually do this.

Those who complain about brown water, tend to get their water from the Oxford well which is very high in manganese. When the city adds chlorine to the water, the manganese precipitates out leaving the brown colour. The city has recently started to add ammonia to get rid of the brown colour, but do you really want water that smells like bleach? 

For those near George Street and south of the hospital, you are getting your water from the Merklin well. This well is very high in arsenic. Arsenic is clear and has no taste. However, long term exposure to high arsenic levels in water is linked to higher risk of internal organ cancers according to Health Canada.
More Arsenic or More Maganese
Most cities with excessive manganese use chlorine because it precipitates it out of the water leaving a brown residue, but those cities filter out the precipitated manganese at the pumping station, leaving safe clean drinking water coming out of your taps.

Unfortunately, White Rock does not filter its water once the Manganese precipitates, so this brown gunk ends up in your taps. While manganese is mostly a cosmetic issue, prolonged exposure to high manganese levels in drinking water has been linked to a higher risk of cognitive function impairment in children and some adults.

Do Not Mix with Tap Water

Not much of a choice: chlorine and ammonia laden water, or arsenic. To us, the choice is clear, as it was to Fraser Health: White Rock should connect to safe and clean Metro Vancouver water.