The recent changes to Health Canada’s guidelines on drinking water quality set a new maximum standard for manganese levels.
The new maximum acceptable concentration (MAC) of manganese in drinking water is 0.12 milligrams per litre, according to the document released on May 10. The previous MAC was 0.05 mg/L.
Manganese is a naturally-occurring mineral in water, soil and air and can sometimes turn tap water brown. If consumed in small amounts it is harmless to humans.
The current level of manganese in Burns Lake is 0.35 mg/L, according to well site tests, as mayor Dolores Funk told Lakes District News.
“Many Canadian communities find themselves in a similar situation and will need to upgrade their facilities to meet the new standards,” she said.
The water in Williams Lake was also found to be above the new standard.
The Village of Burns Lake has applied for a $4.8-million Canada Infrastructure Program grant to build a new water treatment plant.
Groundwater well upgrades that village crews carried out last October on Gerow Island Rd. were part of efforts to improve the water system.
“The Village of Burns Lake has been working for the last two years on all the requirements for a water treatment plant. We hope to hear in the coming months if we were successful in acquiring grant funding, and if we are, it puts the Village of Burns Lake in a very good situation, as we are now shovel ready to commence with this project,” Funk explained.