Ucluelet residents report week of brown water during system flushing

Ucluelet residents report week of brown water during system flushing
Gilbert Deforge
Gilbert Deforge says the water coming out of all the taps in his house have been brown since the city started its water flushing.

The District of Ucluelet is undergoing water system flushing in order to clear sediment from the pipes, but residents are saying water has been impacted for more than a week.

The system flushing started on Feb. 22, and the district had plans to divide the municipality into zones to minimize the amount of time each household and business was impacted.

However, Gilbert Deforge says he understands the need for water flushing, and although the zone they live in has been marked “complete” by the district, the water at his house has been brown for over one week.

“So we were okay with that for a few days, and then now a week goes by and it’s still really, really bad,” Deforge said. “So we’ve been having to go down and buy water from the store, every single day like two five-gallon jugs every single day so we could have water.”

James MacIntosh, the director of engineering for Ucluelet says the work is expected to be complete by March 4, and the water in the district should clear up entirely shortly after that.

“What we’re seeing right now is that the system is…heavily full of sediment, much more than we anticipated,” MacIntosh said. “After March 4, we also anticipate that there will be light disturbances continuing for a short while after. Our goal is that the system will be clear and clean of sediment and we’ll be left with a better system.”

MacIntosh says although the water is unpleasant to look at, it is safe to drink as the sediment in the pipes is iron and manganese.

“We acknowledge the extreme burden that this has on us on business and visitors,” MacIntosh said. “The water is safe to consume, although it is unpleasant in appearance right now. It’s high in iron and manganese, however, it is safe to consume and we anticipate maintaining our schedule as best as we can.”

He says if residents continue to have issues with their water after this weekend they should contact the district so crews can investigate.

Laura BroughamLaura Brougham

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