Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Water cloudy

with 3 comments

Richmond News

Published: Thursday, January 31, 2008The City of Richmond and Vancouver Coastal Health officials are warning Richmond residents that water main upgrades could cause some cloudiness in their tap water, though the discolouration poses little risk to healthy individuals.

A city news release said Metro Vancouver staffers are conducting work near the Oak Street Bridge as part of seismic upgrades.

Vancouver Coastal Health spokesperson Viviana Zanocco said health unit officials are monitoring the water, and that the turbidity is a result of a change in the water’s flow. The water used to flow from Vancouver to Richmond and through to Delta, it is now running from Delta back to Richmond.

I am reproducing this announcement entire as a public service to my fellow residents of Richmond. Who have probably all installed filtration systems of one kind or another on their drinking water anyway. In addition to the turbidity mentioned above, these systems are generally considered essential since they also remove the strange swimming pool smell of chlorine, the “tea leaf scale” – a sort of light brown fleck – that we get from the inside of our water mains – and – for some people who are really worried about their health – the parasites and other nasties that seem to get through every so often.

The people who do not have these systems buy their water already filtered and bottled. At great expense. For some reason they do not take any comfort from the announcements of the authorities. While they bitch and complain about bus fares and gasoline at over $1 a litre they seem to be willing to pay more than that for water they feel safe with. I wonder why. Perhaps it is because the stuff that comes out of the taps does not look clean – even when no work is being done. There are also people who put filters on their showerheads, and say it makes them feel better.

Written by Stephen Rees

January 31, 2008 at 9:55 am

Posted in water

3 Responses

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  1. And as someone who has actually done research on water and wastewater, I can tell you that drinking water from the tap, even if it is slightly cloudy, will do nothing to the stomachs of Richmond residents. Trust me on that one. I have drank water from the tap in Mexico.

    I really enjoy your blog, Stephen. I wonder how you come up with so many great ideas to blog about!


    January 31, 2008 at 10:29 am

  2. I used to live in London. People here are horrified that water in London “has been through six people before it gets to you” which is one of those exaggerations like congestion on the Port Mann Bridge 16 hours a day. Water in London is actually treated. Effectively. And it tastes and looks fine straight out of the tap. It also contains flouride and quite a lot of calcium. I noticed last trip many more people seem to use Brita fliters – probably to save money on kettle descalers.

    Here we love the idea of natural water from pristine watersheds, which is a sort of north west coast obsession. Actually I think it has more to do with keeping property taxes down than anything else. And of course provided no protection at all for the people of Victoria from dead cats in the intake of the Humpback reservoir.

    I do not like water which is cloudy or brown or smells of chlorine, and I don’t care how “safe” it is supposed to be – if it smells bad and looks horrid I am NOT going to drink it. And judging by the purchasing habits of the people I see in the supermarkets and hardware stores, I am not alone in this.

    The problem I have is trying to keep this blog on topic without getting boring or repititive. I had forgotten that I had done the taxi thing not so long ago. But there are so many new readers now that probably does not matter. I do blog as well on but that has not taken off like this one. I started that to take the other stuff that does not belong here.

    Stephen Rees

    January 31, 2008 at 1:20 pm

  3. Apart fro the recycling issue for plastic bottles, I wonder whether the Bisphenol A issue will have people becoming more wary of water stored in any plastic bottles (not just the polycarbonate bottles) for extended periods.

    Ron C

    January 31, 2008 at 3:31 pm

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