Home, home, on the range, things are looking mighty strange Entry for March 18, 2008

This picture is taken about a mile farther into the country from the backside of the lake in previous posts. This is in the country! Far far away from urban sprawl, industrialisation, and factory farming! Half way between the community on the backside of the lake, and the site of the new well being drilled for them.

There has been an announcement in recent months that a new well is being drilled for the residents of the quaint little community situated on the backside of the lake referred to in previous posts here. The article states that the people of this community have not had safe drinking water for over 20 years. Here is the article:

Hatzic water system approved

By Carol Aun – Mission City Record – January 31, 2008

Residents in three Hatzic Prairie subdivisions will be able to safely drink water straight out of the tap later this year.

Over 50 per cent of the property owners in Sheltered Cove, and the Riverside and Mountainview subdivisions, filed a petition to the Fraser Valley Regional District (FVRD) in support of a water supply system introduced last fall.

“We needed 56 approved petitions, which is just 50 per cent of the people in the specified area,” said Dick Bogstie, electoral F director. “We got 71 and we rejected four. [The project] passed by a significant amount.”

The system will bring groundwater to the affected homes from a well near Durieu Elementary School at a cost of $2.4 million. The plan is to drill a second well in the area, close to 50 feet deep and use one of the wells as a back up.

Drilling for the new well is expected to begin next month, according to Tareq Islam, FVRD’s director of engineering. The new water system should be supplying potable water to the three subdivisions by late summer or early fall this year.

There are also 44 properties on Farms Road which are not included in the proposal, but owners have the option to hook up to the system once the lines are installed.

Some residents living near Durieu school on shallow wells told FVRD officials last month they fear a new well would impact the water levels on their properties.

The regional district has been assured by hydrologists and geologists that the nearby shallow wells should not be affected, however, in response to the concern, Islam says the FVRD will be installing monitoring devices on all the wells in the area, which total about half a dozen.

“When we do a pump test, it will read the well levels and [determine] if there are any changes,” said Islam.

The main well capacity will pump about 250 gallons of water per minute, but only about 75 gallons per minute will be used during peak hours, said Islam.

The FVRD has secured two grants totalling $1.3 million for the project, leaving residents to foot the remaining $1.1 million. A parcel tax of $950 will be added to the owner’s property tax notice for the next 20 years, beginning in 2009. Residents will also pay a user fee, which is expected to average about $25 per month. The user fee has not been determined yet as it will be based on the operating and maintenance costs, and the amount of water each household uses in the metered system.

Homes in Sheltered Cove, and the Riverside and Mountainview subdivisions are currently on surface water and have been on a boil water advisory for the past 20 years.

According to the Fraser Health Authority, surface water is exposed to the environment, and exposed to viruses, bacteria and parasites.

A number of water systems in the FVRD have to be revamped because unsafe drinking water is no longer an option, said Bogstie.

The local government has been proposing to bring in potable water for close to 10 years, says Bogstie, but residents have turned down each offer because of the high costs associated.

Here is the direct link to the above article:

http://www.bclocalnews.com/fraser_valley/missioncityrecord/news/15045086.html#

My favourite line in the above article is “Unsafe drinking water is no longer an option.” When you read this, would it not seem to imply that “unsafe drinking water” was at some point an option? I hope you realise that what applies here could just as easily apply anywhere, including right there where you are.

So having photographed, and spoken to local politicians regarding the lake mentioned here in previous entries, the new well development is of interest to me. However maybe not for the reasons one might think.

My first thought was “Where is the well going to be drilled?’ My second thought was “Is the water underground safe where they are going to drill?” Safe, that is, from the presence of the elements I am focused on. Those of a not so well known nature, microbiological elements being amongst these. Many of the elements which are of interest to me here do not seem to show up on publicly accessible testing and analysis reports. This is part of the reason that they are of such interest to me, as well as the reasons why we need to be aware of them and wether or not they are posing a threat in the area where we live.

Including those things microbial, some elements of possible relevance here possibly absent from the data stream would be nitrates, phosphates, methyl mercury, arsine, arsenic, certain parasites, nematodes, toxic algae, dinoflagellates, pfisteria causing components, toxic fungi, mycotoxins and/or neurotoxins, DDT, DDE, DDA, cyanobacteria, basidiomycetes, yeasts, harmful bacteria, raw sewage, harmful water treatment chemicals and/or compounds, other chemical threats from old dumpsites, military waste, hospital waste,the big plant nursery, and some forms of farming such as the blueberry farm up the road from my picture, that may be leaching underground,…………

I tried to obtain local hydrology maps to study the underground water flow in specific areas out here. I called the municipal office, who informed me I might try the library as they do not have hydrology maps. Hmmmm…….. sound right to you? Aside from the fact that the municiplity should have them in their engineering deptartment, these maps should be at the library as a matter of public record. I put my name on the list at the library over a year ago as these maps were out when I went to see them. They never returned to the library last I had checked, and an environmental consultant informed me that I may have to go through an engineering firm to view them, and they do not have to oblige. This surprises many out here, as this is not the way this particular scenario should unfold.

There is an old National Geographic magazine with an interesting article called Water: Our most precious resource.” Have we learned nothing?! This article is from the August 1980 issue, V0l.158, NO.2. On page 150-151 is an artist’s rendering graph of the United States with the top layers of the earth removed, showing what water is below the earth’s surface. It is surprising to see just how much water is under there. Until one sees it mapped out, one may not be able to get an accurate mental picture of the extent of the water located below the surface of the earth’s crust. Amazing!

However, in the context of what I have been focusing on, this is a “disturbing” realization, as the things I am focused on travel with the help of the water. That means they could be in places that have no visible connection to other water bodies, by way of underground travel. I do know that I live in a part of the world
with an extremely abundant underground water supply. What is unknown is how much of it is no longer safe for consumption, irrigation, or other uses or exposures by humans, widlife from the largest to the very microscopic, and/or vegetation. The fact that answers to that very question are so difficult to get probably comes close to answering these questions in general.

Recently someone locally alledged that the municipal water supply is contributing to the escalating cancer rates in this area. This person is not identified in the article. Of coarse the article claims the water was tested and is just fine. LOL. Curious as to what spurned this person to go public with this ascertion, and thinking this person and I might have information of interest to each other, I called the newspaper and asked if the reporter who did the story would pass my name and phone number on to the person who made this allegation. The reporter, who does indeed know who I am, refused to pass my contact info on to this person. She went on to ask me the dumbest question: ” So, Kathy, are you saying there IS something wrong with the water?” I do not quite understand what the point of asking me pointedly what she already knew was, but she did. I answered honestly that “I am saying that there is a problem with the water, yes”. She promptly cut me off. What was that all about?

Here is that article:

Mission’s drinking water is safe

By Carol Aun – Mission City Record – February 21, 2008

Mission residents can rest assured the water coming out of their taps is safe.

About five months ago the district sought information on cancer rates with regard to drinking water based on a request from a local citizen, explained Coun. John Pearson, who is also chair of the Mission-Abbotsford water sewer commission.

The report, which was received a couple of weeks ago from the Fraser Health Authority, indicated cancer rates in Mission are higher than the provincial average, but it’s not because of the water.

The cause is likely due to lifestyle and the higher rate of people who smoke.

Abbotsford receives water from the same source as Mission (Norrish Creek), but has a lower cancer rate. The health authority also took into account residents living in the northern parts of the municipality are serviced by Cannell Lake, but noted the water supply is similar to Norrish Creek.

“Disinfection byproducts in drinking water have been linked to increased risk of getting bladder and colonorectal cancer,” states a report from public health inspector Blair Choquette.

“Disinfection byproducts are produced when water that contains organic materials is disinfected, as the result of the disinfecting reacting with the organic material. The less organic material water contains lower levels of disinfection byproducts that are formed.”

According to stats from the B.C. Cancer Agency, Mission has a higher rate of bladder and lung cancer than Abbotsford, but has a similar rate of colonorectal cancer.

Bladder cancer is associated with smoking and with high intake of disinfection byproducts, and lung cancer is strongly associated with smoking, but very weakly, if at all, associated with any intake of disinfection byproducts.

Many factors contribute to colonorectal cancer, including obesity, a diet high in red meat, and smoking.

Pearson noted people regularly inquire about water safety.

“The water is safe,” said Pearson. “It’s pretty clear from the stats the water is safe, but if you smoke, your risk of cancer increases a lot.”

Mission’s water supply is tested each month at various locations.

Here is the link to the above article:

http://www.bclocalnews.com/fraser_valley/missioncityrecord/news/15821872.html#

I once tried to get water test results for this area. I was sent by each municipal body to another, who sent me to another, who sent me to another. A ccording to this process, no one had any water monitoring and/or test results of any kind. A letter of complaint accompanied by all these responses sent to the information commissioner’s office yielded one water monitoring facility. These test results included absolutely nothing of a microbiological nature, and were very basic in so far as the elements tested for. A very common pattern. Not much there. Definately not what I very specifically asked for, which was microbiological analysis. There was nothing of the nature of what I requested in my very clearly worded request. So one can say 1. there is no testing being done for any microbiological or secondary metabolite presence, 2. there is testing being done for microbiological or secondary metabolite presence but I did not receive it although I specifically officially requested it.

Both 1 and 2 present a problem which is not being rectified, and does persist as a barrier to this day. This needs to be addressed, and part of the solution is for the public to become well versed in how to gather accurate knowledge around what “should” be present on a water testing document for the area it refers to. This is a huge piece of “the problem”, and probably the biggest reason that the failure to fully inform the public persists as it does. I have seen testing data that skillfully avoided testing for the elements in question. If the data was ever there, it was omitted before it got to the where I saw it. This is not a simple problem to solve as the missing data is missing in the name of protecting corporate economic bottom lines.

But the price we are beginning to pay will by far out distance in sickness, death, and economic losses any gain realised during the preceeding windfall.

This area is starting to remind me of a well documented location in the United States referred to as the Dead Zone. The better known Dead Zone is in the Gulf of Mexico. As a result of agricultural runoff, everything is dying. The dead spot is growing on it’s own. Once the dead spot is created, it keeps expanding outward, and the area that is dead continues to increase in size.

Here are links to Dead Zone info:

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2005/05/0525_050525_deadzone.html

http://serc.carleton.edu/microbelife/topics/deadzone/index.html

http://www.smm.org/deadzone/what/looklike.html

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22301669/

This could be beginning here. In my conversations with some in the scientific community here, I discover I am not alone in this hypothesis.

There is a joke out here about one of our media outlets being the provincial premiere’s personal misinformation campagne representatives. I have to say, in my experience over the past 6 or so years, even the most well intentioned media person when it comes to this topic can be persuaded (ultimatimed) to abandon ship short of completion of a project. As one reporter informed me, there was both political and corporate pressure to “leave it alone”. Another in private discussion informed me that they would never be allowed to do a story on my work as it is outlined here in my blog posts. Yet another reporter shared with me how they were forced by their editors to censor the content of their story on this topic (water it down). This enraged the reporter who however could only comply or have no story printed at all. One naturally has to ask themselves why?

Question: Who do the media outlets in your area represent the interests of?

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2 Comments

  1. pamijod said,

    March 19, 2008 at 9:39 am

    this is just scary!!! how can this be with all our modern technology …. can’t something be done????

  2. jerry said,

    April 3, 2008 at 7:14 pm

    Never trust your neighbors , always filter your water ,if you live in the country or if you live in the City .always filter your water .neighbors could have sewer problems or may have toxic’s on there property .


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