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Water Today Title August 15, 2022

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brought to you in part by

Café William

The City's Source of water is Alpine Lakes and groundwater

We sent Whistler media a series of email questions. The answers are below

WT: Can you describe the drinking water system in Whistler, (distribution watermains, treatment plant, users, etc.) and the main challenges it faces?

 The RMOW water distribution system consists of 180 km of water main, 13025 residential connections, and 190 commercial connections, in 20 individual pressure zones. All sources are chlorinated using calcium hypochlorite or on-site chlorine generation. The surface water source and one well field also have UV treatment as a secondary barrier of disinfection. The system services 12,000 permanent residents and 3 million guests annually. The estimated “population equivalent” is 30,000 people. 

WT: What is the source of drinking water?

40% from a surface water intake on 21-Mile Creek and 60% from 14 groundwater wells.

WT: Do the plants have any treatment for emerging contaminants such as PFAS, and endocrine disrupters?

 Whistler’s water sources are either alpine lakes or groundwater where those types of contaminants are not expected, therefore treatment for these contaminants are not parameters referenced by our Provincial Drinking Water Officer in the ‘Permit to Operate’

WT: With the increase in extreme weather events and flooding, what measures is Whistler taking to protect its plants?

Most of Whistler’s water treatment infrastructure is located away from potential flooding areas, and the wells that are near potential flood zones have been constructed to be above a 1:200-year flood event.

WT: Combined sewage overflows (CSO) are a common problem in cities across Canada. What is the situation in Whistler?

 The RMOW does not have any combined wastewater and storm drain systems. Current RMOW projects include sanitary sewer video inspection, sewer pipe relining and smoke testing to reduce inflow and infiltration potential.

WT: What was the amount of CSO in recent years?

 N/A, see above.

WT: Lead connections are also a common problem, how many lead connections do you estimate there are in your system? What is the city doing about it?

Whistler’s water distribution system is constructed using PVC and coated steel water mains, which are free of lead. We don’t believe that we have any lead water connections in Whistler because there are no records of those ever being used here.

WT: Are there other emerging issues, particular to Whistler, you are looking into?

Work is currently underway for pH correction which will be required for all of Whistler’s well water sources. The RMOW continues to develop water conservation initiatives and are focusing on programs related to irrigation and “once-through cooling” equipment (used for chilling and air conditioning in some restaurants and hotels). These items will likely be addressed through bylaw updates after consultation with stakeholders.