Does someone have to die for problem to exist?

What happens if people don’t die but hundreds of them get sick from drinking contaminated water, one reader asks.

To the Editor,

Re: Something for nothing, Letters, Oct. 4.

A letter to the editor in last week’s edition said Cherry Creek water has “absolutely nothing wrong” with it.

The letter writer backed up this statement with a claim that no one has ever died in this province from drinking contaminated water.

Dennis Dalla-Vicenza, the letter writer, said recently he asked the Vancouver Island Health Authority “how many thousands of people have died” from drinking tainted water and VIHA did not have the answer. Dalla-Vicenza said he didn’t need the health authority’s response because in the past he asked them “the same question” and the answer was “zero”.

Does someone have to die for a problem to exist?

What happens if people don’t die but hundreds of them get sick from drinking contaminated water? Does that not count?

A report that was published in the BC Medical Journal in November 2003 says “in British Columbia there have been 29 confirmed waterborne outbreaks since 1980: the largest number were due to parasitic agents such as Giardia and Cryptosporidium.”

During those outbreaks, hundreds of people became ill.

Cherry Creek water is drawn from Lacey Lake.

Like all other surface water sources, Lacey Lake is vulnerable to contamination from wildlife and human activity.

In the early 1990s, a longstanding boil water advisory was in effect in the area due to problems with bacteria and parasites. In response to the problems, Cherry Creek Improvement District added chlorination to their water system. Experts now know that chlorination alone is not enough.

New government regulations require all water purveyors that use surface water as their main source for drinking water to add multiple barriers to protect against all disease-causing bacteria, parasites, and viruses.

Susan Roth,

Beaver Creek

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