Is Wasa Lake safe for swimming?

RDEK asks Interior Health to answer that question after flooding affects sewers and wells around the recreational lake

The regional district is urging Interior Health to test the water at Wasa Lake after being inundated with inquiries about whether it is safe to swim in.

At the Regional District of East Kootenay board meeting on Friday, July 5, the directors decided to send a letter to Dr. Robert Halpenny, Chief Executive Officer of the Interior Health Authority, with a list of requests around Wasa Lake.

The motion, made by Area E Director Jane Walter, asks Interior Health to: initiate water quality testing of Wasa Lake and communicate the results to residents; issue a water advisory for the Wasa Lake area due to the flood and the potential for contamination of water sources; and provide information to residents explaining how to have their wells tested for potential contamination from flood waters.

Twenty-five properties around Wasa Lake have been impacted by flooding since a state of emergency was declared on June 25. Several wells and septic systems have been surrounded by water, raising questions about whether well water is safe to drink, and whether the lake is safe to swim in.

Interior Health, responsible for water quality testing in the southern interior, has not yet answered either of those questions, according to the regional district.

“Water quality is so incredibly important, especially in terms of the contamination of water,” said Sparwood director Lois Halko, adding that the regional district has been “frustrated” by attempts to get answers.