Do Not Use order lifted for Vavenby, B.C.’s water supply

Interior Health (IH) has lifted a Do Not Use order for the small community of Vavenby, B.C.

The order was issued for the community of 250 people about 27 kilometres east of Clearwater on Dec. 30, after a semi-trailer crashed and spilled diesel into the North Thompson River.

A Do Not Use order means water shouldn’t be consumed or used for cooking, cleaning, bathing or even to water plants.

The health authority said on Friday that residents who draw water from the river between 10 kilometres south of Avola down to the confluence of the North Thompson and Clearwater rivers can resume using their private water systems.

Interior Health said that those who live inside the affected area should not use any water from the North Thompson River if it smells or tastes like fuel. The impacted area is between the spill site 10 km south of Avola and the confluence of the North Thompson and Clearwater Rivers.

“Water sampling conducted by the Ministry of Environment and an environmental consultant have shown that the risk of contamination from the spill to the river is low,” IH said in a public notice.

The health authority added that if users notice any changes in the water — such as the smell of fuel or an oily sheen, they should stop using it and have it tested.

The fuel that spilled came from a ruptured fuel tank on a truck that was carrying meat products.

It affected about 100 connections in the Vavenby Community Water System. Residents in a larger downstream area were also asked to check for possible contamination before using water.

-With files from Megan Turcato

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