Forest Lawn residents told not to use water system

·2 min read

Residents of the Forest Lawn mobile home park are now being told not to use their water system.

Northern Health issued an update on Oct. 30, saying an earlier boil water notice was issued in response to "a reported treatment malfunction and concerns with bacterial contamination." But, "upon further investigation, it was discovered that the source water contained elevated manganese levels above the Maximum Acceptable Concentration in the Guidelines for Canadian Water Quality, which would only be further concentrated by boiling the water," Northern Health says.

Residents say their water issues started more than six months ago, when a Chinese company bought the park, and fired its qualified water operator last year.

The same company also purchased Edgewood mobile home park last year, which is under a water quality advisory for high turbidity. The water operator there was also reportedly fired earlier this year.

The company's Vancouver representative Peter Wang could not be reached for comment.

Roughly 150 people live in Forest Lawn, and residents contacted Alaska Highway News last week complaining of intermittent service and undrinkable water for the past two weeks. Residents are refusing to pay their rent until the problem is fixed.

“Water is coming out of the tap in the most putrid shade of brown,” said Sandi Rector.

Residents describe the water as "muddy," and dark-coloured particles remain. It’s impossible to boil the materials out, and residents have resorted to taking showers at their friend’s houses, and having bottled water shipped in.

Northern Health's update says an alternate source of potable water is available for residents, however, it's unclear what is being provided at this time. Residents say no alternate source has been provided.

According to Northern Health inspection notes, no maintenance or upkeep has been done to the park's water system, nor is there a qualified water operator on site.

“The water system operator has been given clear timelines for completing the corrective actions, starting with the requirement to repair or replace any malfunctioning equipment immediately, to prevent further interruptions to water service,” said Northern Health spokesperson Eryn Collins by email.

An Aug. 14 inspection flagged the water quality issues, but stated them to be low risk.

Email reporter Tom Summer at tsummer@ahnfsj.ca.

Tom Summer, Local Journalism Initiative, Alaska Highway News