Vancouver water making people crazy.

by Ed Lau on November 18, 2006

By now, you must have heard that the water in Vancouver is unsafe to drink. We’re spoiled here in the Lower Mainland…we have water so pure that usually, you can drink it straight out of your tap (even though a boil or Brita never hurt.). However, it’s no reason for everyone to go crazy. Check this out.

That’s outside Costco where people are buying water by the caseload. Seriously, people…it’s bacteria. You kill bacteria by boiling water.

I’d equate this on some level to the hysteria that happened just prior to 2000 when everyone was going nuts about Y2K. Back then, I was 17, sitting at a table of adults talking about how they’re preparing for all their appliances to stop working and planes falling out of the sky. I sat there and said to all of them “You’re all nuts. Believe me, absolutely nothing will happen on January 1st other than Dick Clark dropping that giant ball in Times Square.” Naturally, since nearly everyone that age is a moron and has absolutely no concept of how technology works, they all laughed at me but I know for a fact that on January 1st, when all that I prophecied (or lack thereof, really) came true, they all felt a little part of themselves die when they had to sheepishly admit to themselves that the kid was right, as they starred at their cans of beans and home-made bomb shelters. They didn’t need to tell me I was right. I knew that they knew.

The same overraction is evident now when I see people with cartloads of bottled water. Seriously, it won’t kill you. Just boil your water. The city advises us to boil our water for one minute before cooking with it. C’mon, who doesn’t boil their water when they’re cooking…how do you cook with lukewarm water?

I looked at a glass of water out of my tap this morning. It looked as clear as any other water. It’s not brown or yellow or green. Everyone needs to take a step back and look at the situation. There are parts of the world where water looks like this all the time. We’re so spoiled. While a Brita filter may not cut it right now, boiling is seriously enough.

Stop brushing your teeth with Evian.

UPDATE: Apparently those of us in the suburbs can get by with not boiling our water and only those in Vancouver and Burnaby should keep doing so. Great…now if I could just figure out how to cook instant noodles without boiling the water.

in Random

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Shane November 21, 2006 at 10:55 pm

I used to run a bottled water plant so I’m familiar with the good and the bad when it comes to bottled water…

Vancouver has excellent tap water. This kind of bacteria problem only occurs when we have torrential bouts of rain. The excessive rain washes animal fecal matter, etc into the reservoirs and the bacteria levels go up. And the extra turbidity (silt) in the water uses up the chlorine before it can do it’s job to kill the bacteria.

Best bottled water tips: Stick to major brands because they have the best quality control procedures. And stay away from 5 gallon home office jugs. HO bottles are rinsed and refilled and I’ve never seen a company, big or small, that doesn’t have high bacteria counts in this package – the equipment and procedures in the industry just aren’t up to task.


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