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26th April 2015
Robson, B.C., lifts boil water advisory after 18 years

Kootenay community gets $3.2M filtration system, giving it potable water for 1st time since 1997

CBC News Posted: Apr 24, 2015 11:40 AM PT Last Updated: Apr 24, 2015 12:00 PM PT

After 18 years of living with a boil water advisory, people living in the rural community of Robson, B.C., in the West Kootenay have been told they can drink the tap water.

"It's very wonderful. It feels wonderful to be able to turn on the tap," said resident Anne White.

The community, which is unincorporated, installed a $3.2 million water filtration system last year, and finally got the go-ahead to drink water this week.

"We have surface water, so we had to move forward with treatment or we could as a community be fined so it moved us to do something," said White.

She said taxes for residents nearly doubled to pay for the system, something that divided the community at first.

"At first, of course, we were angry," she said. "I'm a taxpayer too. Anyway, we have moved past that."

White said the community also took out a 20-year, low-interest loan to fund the water treatment system.

While White and her neighbours can drink from the tap, many other rural areas still have to boil their water. There are more than 100 boil water advisories in the Kootenays alone, with the oldest dating back 23 years to January of 1992.

With files from Bob Keating.