Thompson-Nicola Regional District hosted a public meeting Wednesday night at Vavenby Community Hall to discuss a Do Not Use order on the community’s water system.
The order is the result of a tractor-trailer going into the North Thompson River south of Avola on Monday evening.
Approximately 800 litres of diesel fuel was believed to have entered the river as a result.
Vavenby draws its water from next to the river and is the nearest community water system downstream from the spill.
TNRD officials were notified immediately and Vavenby’s water intake was closed. The water supply system operators are manually filling the reservoir and monitoring for any signs of fuel contamination.
Attending Wednesday evening’s meeting were representatives from Ministry of Environment, Interior Health Authority (IHA) and TNRD as well as a consulting environmental engineer.
Information was provided regarding the environmental impact of the diesel spill that as well as the impact on the Vavenby water system.
The IHA representative confirmed that the Vavenby water system is currently under a Do Not Use the water order.
Interior Health advised that water users should use bottled water or an alternate source of water for drinking, making ice, washing dishes, brushing teeth, bathing, and food preparation until further notice and that boiling the water does not make it safe.
It is anticipated that the IHA order regarding water use will be in effect for at least the next week. A better assessment of the length of time can be made once test results of recent water samples are received back.
It is expected that information about the initial results will be available to residents in the next couple of days.
In accordance with the IHA Order, the TNRD must continue to take regular water samples and develop a remediation plan for the water system in consultation with IHA and the consulting engineer.
TNRD continues to provide Vavenby residents with bottled water. Until further notice, residents can go to the Vavenby Fire Hall between the hours of 12 p.m. (noon) and 7 p.m. to receive eight litres of water per person in each household, per day.
In addition to the restrictions in Vavenby, IHA advises all residents who draw their water from the North Thompson River between Avola and the confluence of the Clearwater River to be cautious and check their water for any signs of diesel fuel (sheen or fuel odour).