Petition underway to get RDN to improve Sandpiper water quality

A Sandpiper resident sent a photo of the brown water coming out of their faucet. (Submitted photo)A Sandpiper resident sent a photo of the brown water coming out of their faucet. (Submitted photo)
A water filter that was taken out shows the water in Sandpiper community. (Submitted photo)A water filter that was taken out shows the water in Sandpiper community. (Submitted photo)
A water filter that was taken out shows the water in Sandpiper community. (Submitted photo)A water filter that was taken out shows the water in Sandpiper community. (Submitted photo)

A petition in the Sandpiper community of French Creek is aimed at getting the Regional District of Nanaimo to improve water quality.

Electoral Area G (French Creek, San Pareil, Little Qualicum) director Lehann Wallace is co-ordinating the petition but is doing it via email because of restrictions on public meetings and door knocking due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The residents of Sandpiper are seriously concerned of the effects their poor-quality water might be having on their health,” said Wallace. “I have been sent photographs from residents of disgusting water filters and reddish-brown water pouring from their faucets.”

Wallace wants to collect all the peititions as soon as possible and bring it to the immediate attention of regional district.

“It’s time for the RDN to make this a priority for the region to come together on, show some compassion for these residents, and figure out a solution for clean water,” said Wallace.

The RDN French Creek Water Service Area provides water to the Sandpiper community, supplying 248 homes from a series of groundwater wells located nearby. Although the water is chlorinated, the water source is high in manganese and iron.

Residents who have been emailing their petitions have informed Wallace that some have been trying for upwards of 15 years to get help improving water quality.

Many residents have purchased expensive water filtration systems for their homes and purchase drinking water on top of that. But some report even though the filtration systems remove the colour from the water, the odor remains, making the water undrinkable.

Residents have faced an added challenge and expense to purchase additional drinking water jugs because reusable jugs are not accepted at water refill stations due to COVID-19 safety regulations. The residents have complained that their water causes damage with stained laundry, sinks, bathtubs and toilets and shortens the life of their appliances.

The water service that provides the Sandpiper community is sandwiched between the French Creek Epcor Water Service and the Town of Qualicum Beach, both having clean drinking water. The RDN has twice applied, unsuccessfully, for grants from senior government to add a filtration plant to the small water system in French Creek.

The Town of Qualicum Beach’s water supply is already connected to the French Creek Water system for emergency and scheduled maintenance.

“In 2010, I was shocked when we took possession and noticed the water,” said Sandpiper resident Ron Ward, another of the petition organizers. “I’ve felt this water issue should have been dealt with a long time ago as we pay taxes just like everyone else.”

Anyone wishing to submit their petition to Wallace can email her at lehann@lehannwallace.com

Water