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Surrey drinking water ‘clean, safe, clear and healthy,’ city report says

Surrey has the longest water distribution network in B.C.
Surrey residents continue to enjoy “clean, safe, clear and healthy drinking water,” according to a city report. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)

Surrey residents continue to enjoy “clean, safe, clear and healthy drinking water,” according to a corporate report by Surrey general manager of engineering Scott Neuman that came before council Monday night.

Coun. Doug Elford commended city staff for maintaining a “very, very clean” water system.

“We sometimes take it for granted when we turn our taps on, of the clarity and the quality of our drinking water,” he said. “We’re very fortunate to have an abundance in this part of the world.”

Coun. Steven Pettigrew asked what will be done “in a crisis situation, such as an earthquake” to automatically shut down pumps.

Neuman replied there is an operation emergency program in place that enables city staff to be “flexible and adapt” in managing the system.

“Equally we actually do design our main feeder mains to be seismically resilient as well and Metro Vancouver is designing large tunnels underneath the Fraser River to withstand seismic events to ensure adequate supply across the river to Surrey,” Neuman told council.

Surrey has the longest distribution network in B.C., with roughly 1,884 kilometres of water distribution mains, nine pump stations and 30 pressure zones.

“Overall, the 2021 Water System Annual Report confirms and demonstrates that, year-over-year, the City continues to deliver drinking water to good standards, and there are no concerns with bacterial contamination (E. Coli coliforms),” Neuman reports. He said the City of Surrey continues to comply with the Drinking Water Protection Act and Regulations as well as the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality.

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In 2021 the city purchased all of its water from Metro Vancouver, from reservoirs located in the North Shore Mountains.

Every week, Neuman notes, Metro Vancouver collects and analyzes samples taken at each of Surrey’s 51 water sampling stations which are “strategically and geographically” located across the city’s water distribution system.

Last year, 3,138 water samples were analyzed for E. Coliform and Total Coliform. “There was no presence of E-coli bacteria detected in the samples. Four of the samples tested positive for Total Coliform bacteria; however, with flushing and resampling, subsequent test results were negative,” he reports.

Neuman says a minimum of 33 per cent to 50 per cent of Surrey’s system is flushed annually “as an overall practice” to maintain water quality, “with fluctuation dependent on the annual water demand.

“Implementation of these measures has successfully increased minimum chlorine residual levels throughout the city,” he adds.

About the Author: Tom Zytaruk

I write unvarnished opinion columns and unbiased news reports for the Surrey Now-Leader.
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