A sample of water found in the taps of the diabetes office on the fourth floor of the Prince Rupert Regional Hospital. (Northern Health photo)

Muddy water found in taps at B.C. hospital prompts investigation

Northern Health to hire consultant to examine three facilities for potential contamination

Northern Health is questioning the quality of water at three of its facilities in Prince Rupert.

Discoloured, muddy or slimy is how the water has been described from some of the taps at the Prince Rupert Regional Hospital (PRRH).

As a result, the health authority is requesting a consultant investigate the hospital’s water system, as well as Acropolis Manor and Summit Residences.

“Depending on the results of this assessment, potential remediation will also be recommended,” said Andrea Palmer, media relations for Northern Health, in an email.

The issue over the city’s water quality was raised in February 2016 when high levels of lead in water had been found at four elementary schools in Prince Rupert. The discovery caused alarm across the city, but Palmer noted that “the water at these facilities is safe to drink, and passed lead testing last year as well.”

READ MORE: Bill introduces calls for water testing at schools

In the project background outlined in the document, Northern Health notes the city is working on upgrading the water supply by replacing the Woodworth Dam and underwater lines. But despite the city’s efforts, the water system at the hospital is not being recirculated and “the hospital experiences stagnant water in its lines in areas with less use,” the document states. Acropolis Manor and Summit Residences, however, were built in 2009 and have a recirculating water system.

READ MORE: $7.1 million in grant funds awarded to Rupert water project

“The water quality is described as discoloured, muddy or slimy,” the document states, adding that sampling will determine if the cause is biological or chemical from corrosion in the piping.

Photos of water samples are also pictured in the document. Muddy water was found in samples from the main floor in the occupational therapist room, second floor in the doctor’s office, and the fourth floor in the diabetes office.

In the appendix, the health authority also offers an analysis of city water, which shows that while lead levels were okay, two other qualities of the water, haloacetic acids and trihalomethanes, exceeded the health guideline.

Northern Health wants sampling and assessments to begin within two weeks of the contract being awarded to a consultant. The bidding opportunities for the contract opened March 16, and will close April 5.

Prince Rupert Regional Hospital Water Quality Study RFP Final by Shannon on Scribd

 

shannon.lough@thenorthernview.com 

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