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Frequently Asked Questions

How much water is used per person per day?
Approximately 550 litres (121 gallons) per capita per day. That includes water used at home, business, and industry. This figure increases to a peak demand of 1150 litres (253 gallons) per person per day in the summer months.

What is the green/blue staining on plumbing fixtures?
The source of the blue green stains is copper that is leached from copper piping by our naturally acidic water.

The problem is most noticeable in building complexes that have large diameter copper piping and not enough demand to reduce the concentration of copper.

The problem may be apparent when the water has been left standing overnight or during the day for 6 to 8 hours. The copper is not a health concern. By letting the tap run for 15 to 30 seconds will flush the standing water and will ensure the water meets the Health Canada aesthetic guideline for copper.

Why do we have sprinkling restrictions?
There are several reasons for the need for sprinkling restrictions:

The present storage reservoirs have the ability to supply the City of Nanaimo for another 15 to 25 years depending our use of water and conservation. The present supply mains that bring the water to the city will meet demands for next 30 years or longer. Without restrictions these estimates would be reduced requiring significant capital costs for improvements and would result in a requirement for higher water rates.

The present secondary supply and distribution mains that transport the water throughout the city are designed and sized to meet domestic and fire flows. Alternate sprinkling days ensure that enough pressure and flow capacity remain in the system to fight fires.

The afternoon sprinkling restrictions allow the systems balancing reservoirs to recharge on a daily basis and avoid higher loses to evaporation from sprinkling in the hottest time of day.

When can I wash my car?
You may wash you your car on your watering day during allocated watering hours.

How Hard is my water?
The water is very soft as it comes from a surface supply or lake and does not have a high mineral content. The hardness is in the range of 5 milligrains per litre, (5 ppm) which is less than half a grain.

Why does my water occasionally smell and taste of chlorine?
The City of Nanaimo is required by Ministry of Health to disinfect the water for health and safety reasons. The City of Nanaimo uses chlorine to disinfect the water at a dosage of that will result in a one milligram per litre free chlorine after 20 minutes contact time.

Occasionally, usually late summer/early fall natural processes in our supply reservoirs release small amounts of ammonia and react with chlorine to form chloramines that produce the chlorinous taste and odour. This is not harmful but can be displeasing. Some people are naturally more sensitive to chlorine. The problem can be reduced by storing drinking water in open containers in the refrigerator.

Where can I get the water tested?
The City of Nanaimo has 100 or more water samples taken and tested monthly. The water is tested for coliforms, total organics, disinfection by products and other micro biological parameters on a daily and weekly basis. Full spectrum analyses are carried out semi annually and include testing for all trace elements, and a wide spectrum of pesticides, herbicides, and other compounds.

The City of Nanaimo has set up a testing program that takes samples from each system in the city on a rotation basis. This is done to ensure that the all of the water systems are tested.

If you have concerns or would like more information you may call the Public Works Department directly at 250-758-5222 .

As a rule the City of Nanaimo does not do individual specific testing for trace elements for businesses that request water quality information. However the results from the cities testing program is available from this Web Page or (City of Nanaimo Public Works at 250-758-5222 or City of Nanaimo Engineering Department at 250-755-4409 ).

For individual requests or concerns with water quality we ask that you direct your calls to the Public Works Department at 250-758-5222 .

How can I get water other than City of Nanaimo water tested?
We cannot recommend private labs for testing water, however, you may find "Analytical Laboratories" in the yellow pages. You may also consult with the local Health Unit for assistance.

Do we have any pesticides, industrial chemicals or other pollutants in our water?
The City of Nanaimo is fortunate to have a closed watershed. The watershed catchment area is owned by Weyerhaeuser Company Limited, and co-managed by the City of Nanaimo and Weyerhaeuser Company Limited. Access to the watershed is restricted, security and water quality programs are monitored closely. Thus the risk for contamination is extremely low. A regular testing program continually demonstrated that no contaminants are present in the water supply.


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