Saturday, February 25, 2017

From the Mouths of Babes

"Eeeuuuwww, Oma, what stinks?"

That question was from my 3-year old grandson, who lives at the other end (the far end of the Duteau Water Treatment Plant's distribution line), which is proof in itself.

Proof of what?
I'll back up a bit.

While grandson gathered his favourite tub toys from his once-a-week bedroom here, I had unwittingly run his bath.  He normally has a bath at home but today was different.  I say unwittingly because we who live here are so used to "it".  His four-word question arose as I turned off the bath water and helped him into the tub.

It was then I realized his little nostrils weren't accustomed to it...the smell, the stink that emanates from our water taps, especially during the winter months.  It's the stink--in a tiled room where hard surfaces don't absorb odors as would a carpeted bedroom, for example.  The counter, fixtures, tiled walls...they all seem to bounce water's stink around the bathroom.

"It's the smell of our water," I said feebly to those innocent and very young, questioning eyes.

Needless to say, I rushed through the lather and rinse and pat-dry stage very quickly and sent him to the bedroom to get his PJs on.
I opened the window wide and firmly closed the door.

In this house, H and I call it "winter over-chlorination".
Our residence is relatively close to the Duteau Water Treatment Plant, whereas the grandson and his parents reside almost at the terminus of the distribution line.

Huh?  What's that got to do with the stink?

An employee of the water utility, when asked years ago why the water stinks so badly especially in winter, told me the following:  "Yeah, we have to put 'x' amount of chemicals in at the plant so that at the end of the line, we still get 'x' chlorine readings (proving effectiveness of bacteria reduction).  At your location so close to the plant, you'll get that stink."

But why is it so strong during winter?

As is more often the case than not, scientist and Coldstream councillor Gyula Kiss provides answers to all manner of questions in his documents, in this case:

Excerpt from August 16, 2012 Technical Committee Meeting: 
"6.  Results of trihalomethane (THM) sampling data were presented...It is alarming that in 2012 THM in Duteau water samples were about 2.5 times that of samples from Kalamalka Lake water.  THMs are the product of chlorination of water for domestic use.  The most common THM is chloroform produced by chlorine reacting with methane dissolved in water.  I do not believe methane would be reduced by filtration.  THMs are considered to be carcinogenic."

and this excerpt from September 13, 2012 Technical Advisory Committee Meeting: 
"It is preposterous to consider a separate line to deliver the raw irrigation water while the current line continues to deliver mixed domestic/irrigation water.  As the ultimate objective is to limit treatment to domestic supply it is likely that eventually only a trickle of treated water will be flowing in these huge lines just as it does now during the winter season."

Frankly, I'm extremely pissed off that I exposed my grandson to these dangerous fumes.

"I love a dirty kid," Kia would've said, adding "it's dirty bureaucrats who don't do their jobs properly that I can't stand."

Grandson won't be getting a bath here again during winter.
Even if he's covered in an inch of peanut butter!

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