Residents on Blandy Creek Water System say they’re being forced to dig expensive well for bad water.
“It just comes out of the mountain up there, there’s a glacier up there” Terrence Flewin told CHEK News.
Flewin owns one of twelve remaining homes that takes water from a system built in 1962 on Hkusam Mountain.
Residents on the system say the water has always been safe and great to drink.
“You’ve never been sick? No, never, we’ve been here for 13 years” Lynn Taylor responded to CHEK News.
“And Yeah, no one’s been sick, ever. You know, ever, right to this date from the water” said Taylor’s neighbour Connie Neufeld.
However, Island Health began testing the water on a weekly basis in 2014 and soon found traces of e coli in it.
The residents have been under a boil water advisory since then and now Island Health has ordered all the residents to remove themselves from the system or get the system to comply with provincial standards.
“I guess that’s why I’m on the news today because I was horrified. I was like ‘Are you kidding me?’ We’ve tried so hard I’ve done so much to make this work and this is like a slap in the face to me, and it’s unbelievable, it’s threatening” said Neufeld.
Connie was the volunteer taking and sending the samples to Island Health.
But recently she and the other residents received a letter stating if their water did not comply to provincial guidelines they would face fines of $200,000 a day and even jail time.
“It’s just ridiculous the whole thing is ridiculous and it’s very stressful and I don’t want to go to jail” said Taylor.
They say opting out of the system means digging a well at a cost of $20,000, money they don’t have and for water that would come out of a swamp behind their homes.
“They weren’t happy with e coli ever showing up in any of our samples and you could probably count on two hands who many times we had ecoli show up in our samples” added Neufeld.
“Ecoli is not ok in our drinking water” responded Medical Health Officer for the North Island Charmaine Enns.
“We are a first world country with first world standards and it is a requirement for water systems to meet the requirements for potability.”
Island Health says it is doing its best to work with local residents and will do whatever necessary to avoid any fines being levied.