Doctor raises questions about discoloured tap water

After seeing Houston’s tap water get more and more discoloured, a local paediatrician has asked Northern Health to investigate.

After seeing Houston’s tap water get more and more discoloured, a local paediatrician has asked Northern Health to investigate.

Dr. Clare Moisey, who has worked in Houston for 20 years,  sent a letter to the health authority last week to report a significiant amount of new discolouration  in the water over the last six to eight months.

“At times, the water in the toilet will look as though someone with hematuria [bloody urine] had used the toilet and not flushed,” he wrote.

“During the day, this will settle out and the water will become a reasonable colouration.”

High manganese has long been a problem in Houston’s water supply. Residents voted last April to reject a $4.5-million water treatment system that would remove manganese from the water.

Doug Quibell, northwest manager of public health protection, was part of the consulting team that helped the District of Houston decide on that proposal.

When it comes to a health risk, Quibell said Houston water is well protected.

Four wells pump water into Houston’s system, he said, and samples taken at each well consistently pass tests for bacteria and chemicals that pose a risk to human health.

Only one element, manganese, regularly exceeds Canada’s guidelines on drinking water, Quibell said, adding the guideline in question is only meant to control taste and visual quality.

“But it never gets within 40 per cent of the health-based guideline,” he said.

That guideline is 0.5 mg per litre of manganese stretched over an average human lifetime.

At the levels Houston has, Quibell said the main concerns are stains on laundry and plumbing fixtures as well as an unpleasant taste. Consumer-grade water filters such as Britta pitchers are enough to remove most manganese, he added.

Manganese is a very common element, Quibell said, and in trace amounts it is considered part of a healthy diet.

A Health Canada fact sheet notes that manganese is among the least toxic of the elements, and even in places with high manganese in the water, Canadians ingest more of it in their food than they drink.

But a 2010 study funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research suggested that the manganese levels found in towns supplied by groundwater may cause intellectual impairment in children.

After tracking manganese levels in the food and water of 362 Quebec schoolchildren, researchers found lower IQ scores among those living in towns supplied by groundwater.

Quibell said the study suggests there are potential long-term health effects at a manganese level lower than the Canadian health guidelines.

“But that was only one study,” he said, adding that more research is now underway at Environment Canada.

“This is new and it could be legitimate, but it needs to be followed up,” he said.

“What they recommended at the end is that other scientists look into this.”

 

Just Posted

Kitimat resident is Conservative choice for fall election

Claire Rattée is a former Kitimat councillor

One in critical condition after train hits grader near Smithers

The collision occurred at the Lawson Road crossing in the rural community of Quick

B.C. BUDGET: Surplus $374 million after bailouts of BC Hydro, ICBC

Growth projected stronger in 2020, Finance Minister Carole James says

Province announces $100-million grant funding for Northwest communities

The Northern Capital and Planning Grant will go to four regional districts and 22 municipalities

Happy anniversary Chia’s Dream Closet

Chia’s dream Closet celebrated their first year anniversary last week. Owner, Chia… Continue reading

‘Riya was a dreamer’: Mother of slain 11-year-old Ontario girl heartbroken

Her father, Roopesh Rajkumar, 41, was arrested some 130 kilometres away

Missing Surrey showshoer caught in avalanche found dead on Vancouver mountain

North Shore Rescue resumed its search today after efforts were temporarily halted Tuesday due to snowstorm

Man injured in police shooting near Nelson has died: B.C. police watchdog

The death follows an incident in Bonnington on Feb. 13

Experts urge caution after 10 human-triggered avalanches across B.C.

One man is still stuck after avalanche on south coast

‘It consumed my life’: Inside the world of gaming addiction

World Health Organization classifies gaming disorder as a mental health condition

Police seize bottles of grapefruit vodka from wanted man’s snow-pants

The men were pushing two shopping carts with a woman inside

Tonight’s sporting event costs more than the Super Bowl, and Obama is going

Tickets are going for more than $4,000 to watch the Duke - North Carolina basketball game

CRTC report finds ‘misleading, aggressive’ sales tactics used by telecom industry

Report recommends measures to make a fairer situation for consumers

Trudeau takes personal hit amid SNC-Lavalin controversy: poll

Overall, 41 per cent of respondents believed the prime minister had done something wrong in the affair

Most Read