Independent testing has been completed by the City of Fernie which confirms the increased presence of selenium in the James White Park Wells.
Levels are within the provincial standard but city staff said they are implementing ongoing independent monitoring and created a response plan should they rise above the limit.
“Our community’s continued access to safe, high quality drinking water is a critical priority,” says Mayor Ange Qualizza.
“Confirming increased selenium in the James White Park Wells is a challenge, and very disappointing. Council has been committed to the long-term viability of the Fairy Creek water source and has budgeted for investment into protecting that critical piece of infrastructure.”
The city’s primary drinking water source comes from the Fairy Creek Spring, which is not affected by selenium levels in the Elk River.
The James White Wells are used as a secondary source and are considered safe to use.
“Our response plan ensures that if the James White Wells were ever to meet, or exceed, the provincial limits for selenium they would not be used as a source of water. We would instead revert to the Fairy Creek source and issue the appropriate level of water quality advisory,” explains Manager of Engineering Jenny Weir.