Irrigation users in Prairie Valley received a letter dated July 6 , warning them that the irrigation water they use is in danger of not being chlorinated.
The reason being that Interior Health does not require it.
They also state that we of Prairie Valley are in grave danger if a chlorine leak should occur.
Nothing was mentioned as to why irrigation water was chlorinated in the first place.
Water coming out of Trout Creek has been exposed to sunlight so this water contains micro organisms that form long green chains when not chlorinated.
When the system was installed growers were encouraged to install drip or microjet systems to help conserve water. When water is not chlorinated these green chains plug up water filtration systems, microjets, drip nozzles and other small parts. The only way to prevent this is using chemicals to kill off the algae.
At the time of installing this system in the 1970s, it was decided the safest way of doing this was for the water coming to users be treated by the municipality thus preventing growers from contaminating the whole system by using chemicals themselves.
Summerland staff say they will never need this water for domestic use. If there was a break in the domestic water system or a large fire it is important that this large source of water be kept clean just in case.
Growers have miles of irrigation tubing in their orchards, vineyards and gardens. Once these are plugged up, I hope the municipality has a plan to compensate for new systems.
As for the safety of chlorine, none of us have been gassed in the last 40 or so years.
People handling this product are supposed to be qualified.