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Mid-island residents concerned over murky tap water
FRENCH CREEK -- They say they've been trying to clear the waters for 15 years, but so far they have been unsuccessful.
Residents living in the 'Sandpiper' subdivision of French Creek have been complaining about a persistent problem with their water and are now calling on the Nanaimo Regional District (RDN) to finally take some action.
"It's a dark brown rust, and there's sediment that's actually inside our glasses and tubs," said Gillian Ward.
She and her husband Ron purchased a home in the neighbourhood in 2010 and quickly found out there was a problem not only with the water in their home, but with 250 others in the area as well.
"We contacted the RDN and the information they gave us is that it's safe to drink but we weren't accepting it. We contacted our neighbours soon afterwards," said Ron Ward.
The Wards installed a water filtration system which needs changing every three months. They also have to rely on bottled water for cooking and drinking.
"We have a lot of seniors here. We've heard quotes from them that they just don't feel safe drinking this water – we really want it to be addressed at this point," said Ward.
Just up the street, neighbour Randy McCulloch agrees. He describes his hot tub as looking like a large pot of tea because of the discolouration. He's wondering why it's taking so long for residents to get action.
"I keep hearing that at the turn of a tap we can be hooked up to Qualicum water and they have enough water until hell freezes over,” said McCulloch. “Why they don't do it I don't know."
The 250 homes in the area receive their water from the Regional District via a groundwater well system. The neighbourhood’s new area representative, Lehann Wallace, says complaints about the water run back more than a decade and a half.
"Certainly the complaints are consistent that the quality of the water is not nice to look at, it has an odour, it causes a lot of damage to appliances and stains laundry," Wallace said.
Wallace says she's working on behalf of residents in the area, but it has been difficult because of current COVID-19 restrictions. But, she says she is confident something can be done.
"We need to certainly do a better job as a region and show some compassion for the residents of Sandpiper and do something about this drinking water," she said.