Stylesheets: Screen version | Mobile

Water Quality and Treatment

Water Quality and Treatment

Water Treatment

The City of Nanaimo is blessed with a high quality surface source from the South Fork of the Nanaimo River. In the past, we have been fortunate to meet the regulations using only chlorine injection as treatment.

Until the City's Water Treatment Plant is operational, those in the following risk categories should follow Island Health's bulletin for Preventing Water-Borne Infections For People with Weakened Immune Systems.

Risk Categories:

  • HIV infection who have a CD4+ count of less than 100 cells/mm3;
  • lymphoma or leukemia (hematological malignancies) who are being actively treated or have been in remission and off treatment for less than 1 year;
  • hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients; and
  • people born with diseases that severely affect their immune systems.

Evolution of best practices, regulations and consumer expectations led the City to complete its Water Supply Strategic Plan in January 2007. One of the key goals in the Strategic Plan is to: "Provide safe drinking water; meeting and exceeding regulations to ensure clean, healthy water is provided at all times."

A number of factors have combined to move the City towards full-scale water treatment:

  • The City completed its Water Supply Strategic Plan and adopted the multi-barrier approach to water quality.
  • Two recent boil water advisories due to turbidity (cloudiness) from extreme winter precipitation events occurred.
  • The water supply is subject to turbidity events; a condition that is expected to worsen with climate change.
  • The single form of treatment is coarse screening followed by chlorine injection, which is considered a single barrier only.
  • Vancouver Island Health Authority notified the City that it was implementing a Surface Water Treatment Policy, which the existing water supply does not meet. The Policy requires that surface water sources receive filtration.
  • The City is growing, as is the diversity of businesses and light industry that rely on a secure, consistent supply of quality water.
  • Future augmentation of supply (new dam and reservoir) is expected to pose a risk to water quality during the stabilization period, in terms of turbidity, nutrients and algae.

In support of a multi-barrier approach, the City is embarking on planning and senior government funding acquisition for a major water treatment plant, using filtration. The treatment plant is envisioned to be a model of sustainable practices, taking into account long term yield of its watershed, given growth and climate change impacts. The recently adopted Official Community Plan also supports these goals, especially with regard to sustainability and the provision of consistently safe drinking water for generations. With these actions, the City is directly supporting the Province's Living Water Smart Plan, and Federal safe water objectives. The water treatment plant is planned to be completed by winter 2016. The total costs are estimated to be $71 Million.

Water Treatment Plant

With questions, please call Bill Sims at 250-756-5302.

Water Quality Testing

The City of Nanaimo is fortunate to have a high quality surface water supply. The water collected from rain and snow at the headwaters of the Nanaimo River produce a high quality and good tasting product.

Over the years the water quality testing program has continually been modified to keep up with current regulations and with outside laboratories abilities to test the water to the lowest levels for micro biological and chemical contamination.

The water is tested at the source and throughout the distribution system on a regular basis. The water sampling points were selected to cover all of the systems zones and where the most likely water problems would occur.

The program includes daily tests for coliforms, monthly tests for total organics, disinfection by products, cryptosporidium and giardia lamblia, hetrotrophic plate counts, and semi annual full spectrum analysis of the water from the watershed.

The results found in the attached tables represent actual results from water quality testing.

NOTE: Actual water quality may vary as a result of weather changes in the watershed, or as a result of changes to operating procedures during maintenance to water supply and distribution systems.


Fertilizer Risk Assessment

PLEASE NOTE: Most of the Appendices for the The Fertilizer Risk Assessment have not been included in the on-line version. Hard copies of the entire document may be obtained by calling the Engineering Department at 250-755-4409.

Minor Navigation