ROCK CREEK, B.C. — Residents of about 25 properties have been ordered to stop using their water after a suspected methamphetamine lab was found by police near Rock Creek, B.C.
Interior Health issued the order after the Mounties reported seeing solvents and other hazardous materials being dumped into the soil near the community east of Osoyoos, possibly contaminating the local water table.
The order covers a three kilometre radius between Bridesville and Rock Creek, but does not affect the communities of Bridesville, Rock Creek or Midway.
The health authority says there is no risk to water from aquifers, deep wells, or for properties downstream along the Kettle River.
Officials believe the risks of exposure or health problems are low, and say the warning is a precautionary measure. But they say the water ban will stay in place for the affected properties until further investigation and testing is complete.
The RCMP says members of its clandestine laboratory enforcement and response team executed a search warrant on a rural property on Wednesday and seized illicit drugs and weapons.
A notice posted on the B.C. Environment Ministry's website on Thursday night says a contractor specializing in hazardous waste material was helping in the cleanup.
"The exact contents of the drug lab waste are unknown at this time," it says.
The RCMP says two men have been arrested and charges are pending.
"We believe the sophisticated lab had the potential to produce significant amount of methamphetamine. In shutting it down we have prevented dangerous illicit drugs from reaching our communities," Sgt. Annie Linteau says in a news release.
"As disturbing though, was the dumping of hazardous chemicals on the property, which potentially could have harmed innocent people living in the area."
The Mounties say its officers and those cleaning up the site are expected to remain on the property for several days.
Environmental health officers were in the area Friday to hand deliver notices to the affected residents. Safe drinking water was being made available at a filling station at the Rock Creek Fair Grounds.
The Canadian Press