Quality of city water remains questionable

Re: Bottled water offers choice, Opinion, June 28.

To the Editor,

Re: Bottled water offers choice, Opinion, June 28.

Nanaimo council recently decided to ban the sale of bottled water from public facilities, making the claim that city tap water is certainly an acceptable replacement for bottled water.

Researching the sources of bottled water I have found the following:

u Ninety-five per cent of bottled water comes from deep well aquifers and if the bottled water is identified as natural spring water, it cannot have been filtered or treated and still carry the label natural spring water: that is a ruling of the federal government;

u Five per cent of bottled water comes from municipal water sources. An example of such a brand would be Aquafina. This water is sourced from a municipal supply in Vancouver and is subjected to a seven-step treatment process before bottling for sale. This includes four levels of filtration in addition it is treated with UV, reverse osmosis and finally is ozonated.

How can the City of Nanaimo make the claim that our tap water, which comes from a potentially dangerous open source, treated only with chlorination resulting in such a potential health hazard as to necessitate the expenditure of  $72 million to provide proper treatment, be considered as safe as either of the above bottled water sources?

I pose the same question to your readers as I have to the Vancouver Island Health Authority health officer:

“Do you consider the water currently being supplied to Nanaimo households as safe as bottled water taken from a municipal water supply that has been further treated with UV and reverse osmosis?”

It would seem that the answer would have to be no or else it is difficult to justify the $72-million cost to Nanaimo taxpayers to filter our water just once.

This decision seems to have been made as the result of pandering to CUPE as much as it was made in line with common sense. Surprise?

Being an adventurous, devil-may-care kinda guy, I still live on the edge by drinking water right from my tap, fully realizing I am playing Russian Roulette until our new water filtration plant is up and running.

Jim Taylor

Nanaimo