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26th October 2020
Vernon, B.C., changes its source of drinking water due to algae blooms in Kalamalka Lake

Customers switched over to the Duteau Creek Water Treatment Plant on Saturday

CBC News Posted: Oct 24, 2020 3:50 PM PT Last Updated: October 24

Unusually high levels of algae in Kalamalka Lake, the water source for residents of Greater Vernon, B.C., have prompted the Regional District of North Okanagan (RDNO) to temporarily change sources.

The RDNO says starting Saturday afternoon Vernon residents will begin receiving water from the Duteau Creek Water Treatment Plant.

The district says the high algae counts in the lake may have caused some customers to notice a difference in the taste and smell of their water.

"Algae levels are not exceeding a level that poses a health risk, but the RDNO is switching water sources out of an abundance of caution," said the RDNO in a statement.

"Customers should start to notice improved water quality soon," said the district, adding the water from Duteau Creek has a low alkalinity and pH and will seem softer.

It says customers can use in-house filtration systems like a Brita filter while the changeover takes place, but boiling water is not an effective or recommended treatment.

The district says the cause of the increase in algae levels is unknown, but says flooding and unusual weather patterns this year likely played a role.

The RDNO says algae blooms are part of the reason Greater Vernon Water is pursuing filtration options for water from Kalamalka Lake.

It says customers will be notified when the Kalamalka Lake water source is turned back on.