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.

Orange Tides in White Rock

What is causing this orange water at our beach? The city speculates that it may be organic material, but orange algae blooms occur in the ocean, not in storm sewers as is happening in this case. This has happened before. It happened in early June 2014, and also in 2007.

One research scientist examined a sample of the orange slime coming from the Anderson storm sewer, and said it looked like simple inorganic Iron Oxide (aka rust!). The samples are still being tested, but it seems unlikely that this is organic material since the orange water was coming directly from the Anderson storm drains, and were emptying into the beach.

Could this rust be coming from our water mains that White Rock paid EPCOR over $15M for? Could this be why over 500 residents had complained recently of brown muddy water coming out of their tapes in the last few weeks?

All speculation at this point, but we will keep you informed as we learn more.
For more, read the May 8th Peace Arch News article here.
Orange Waters in White Rock - May 8th from Anderson Outflow

City Council Reverses its Decision to Add Chloramine to White Rock Water!

An interesting day today. About 175 people braved the cold to rally at City Hall at noon to protest the intended use of Chloramine in our water. Thank you to all who were able to attend.

This evening, Fraser Health made a presentation to City Council on water disinfectants, after which all six Councillors and the Mayor discussed the Chloramine vs Chlorine topic before a Council Chambers packed by the Public that overflowed into the lobby.

At the end of the lengthy discussion, Councillor Lawrence made a motion to seek a time limit extension from Fraser Health to extend the June 1, 2016 deadline for a water disinfectant to enable the City to get in place an Arsenic and Manganese Reduction /Removal Plant. As the second part of the motion, Chlorine, NOT Chloramine, is to be used as the water disinfectant in the interim. All seven people on Council voted in favour of this motion.

While time will tell what sort of latitude Fraser Health will allow, thank you to all who helped ensure that White Rock City Council took a second look at Chloramine.


[Editor’s note – Read more about the Rally in the Peace Arche news here: ]

Andrew on Bridge

White Rock Residents say Whoa! to Chloramine in drinking water!

Read the Jan 7th background story in the Province by Jennifer Saltman

The use of Chloramine and the Potential for Damage to Aquatic Life


White Rock City Hall
15322 Buena Vista Ave,
White Rock, BC V4B 1Y6
January 5, 2016

Mayor: Wayne Baldwin and Council

Re: The use of Chloramine and the Potential for Damage to Aquatic Life

As you may know, on October 17, 1989 and July 9, 1990 there occurred two breaks in Surrey water mains that dumped chloramine-laced water into the Fergus Creek, which is a sub catchment of the Little Campbell River (LCR). The extreme damage to fish and benthic invertebrates officially took almost a decade for recovery but we know some damage was permanent. In fact it is only with huge recent investments by the City of Surrey, the Department of Highways and local volunteer organizations that Fergus Creek is what it is today. Some White Rock storm water flows into the LCR, some of it via Fergus Creek.

These events were a huge wake-up call. It was because of the above-mentioned spills that the Greater Vancouver Regional District followed up on this disaster by conducting extensive public consultation and then deciding on Chlorine over Chloramine for the entire Lower Mainland. Our members have seen government at all levels deal with scheduled and unscheduled pollution and have witnessed many types of failure. We recently watched the aftermath of an accident-damaged fuel tank on a truck that had poured hundreds of gallons of diesel directly into the main stem of the Little Campbell River. Firefighters and Ministry of Environment responders showed themselves hopelessly ill prepared for such an accident with inadequate oil absorption supplies. Nobody wants these kinds of disasters to fish bearing streams and while diesel fuel is toxic, some of it will evaporate but chloramine will not.

An issue unique to White Rock is the non-point pollution aspect of chloramine. It’s common knowledge that many of the strata units in White Rock contain dedicated car washes within their concrete parkades. All water from this type of activity plus power washing of parkade slabs goes directly to the ocean through storm drains. On top of that, on-street car washing, pressure washing and a portion of the at home and strata irrigation garden watering is sent directly by storm drains to the Semiahmoo Bay. Then there are city owned automatic sprinklers especially along the waterfront that suffer breakages from time to time.
Based on many years of combined watershed experience we know that very little of the water involved in the cleaning of water mains, accidental breakage of water mains, and admittedly the rare event of firefighting will ever be effectively treated to neutralize the chloramine in the water. It is a fact that chloramine run-off from water hydrants or broken mains that enter storm drains, streams, and rivers, endangers the lives of fish, amphibians, water invertebrates, and other sensitive marine animals.

There is a significant amount of evidence that identifies “vacated” and “dead” zones in marine areas adjacent to inhabited areas that use chloramine. Of course people will say that’s correlation not causation, as no one will underwrite the necessary science. The data gaps are still huge, but the people that know those areas still know what they know and chloramine is suspect.

Chloramine, which is an extremely persistent compound, is a dangerous substance in water and has been locally proven to destroy fish and benthic organisms in rivers and streams and has the potential to destroy sea life close to the ocean outfalls in Semiahmoo Bay.

The Semiahmoo First Nations once relied on the abundance of sea life in Semiahmoo Bay but over the years point and non-point pollution reduced the tens of thousands of fish available to them to just a few hundred. The abundant clams and other molluscs, which were once available all year around, were polluted too. Even the crab fishing has been diminished and here we have the City of White Rock wanting to pollute the ocean with another toxic pollutant.

The Canadian EPA ruled chloramine “toxic” as defined in Section 64 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, as a result of a study assessing the impact of chloraminated water discharges entering the environment, particularly on fish.

Research states that chloramine must be filtered out before it reaches bodies of water. Does White Rock really have a tested, comprehensive plan to do this and will there be a surcharge for Chloramine contaminated sewage being sent to the wastewater treatment plants in Metro before being dumped into the Gulf of Georgia?

Will you be engaging and consulting in a comprehensive review on this issue of Chloramine in the drinking water like the GVRD in the early 1990’s?

Please know that we are completely opposed to chloramine being used in White Rock water and will advocate in every possible venue against it.

There was a time when the citizens of White Rock were proud and boasted of their pure drinking water and people from miles around would come and drink the water and remark on how wonderful and different the water tasted right from the tap. It was not unusual for visitors to take jugs of water home. We understand there is a complex and changing regulatory environment. We also believe that introducing chloramine into this once pristine water supply has the potential for causing many unintended consequences.

Phillip Milligan
Little Campbell Watershed Society
1284-184th Street, Surrey, BC V3Z 9R9

c.c. Rebecca Reid, Regional Director, Fisheries Management, DFO
c.c. Bruce Reid, Regional Oceans Manager, DFO
c.c. City of Surrey Dept. of Environment and Drainage
c.c. Semiahmoo First Nation
c.c. Drayton Harbor Shellfish Protection District
c.c. Friends of Semiahmoo Bay
c.c. Surrey Environmental Partners