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Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 93, Issue 1, pp 14–18 | Cite as

Drinking Water Supply and Management Practices in British Columbia, 1997–98

  • Christiaan van Netten
  • Robert Pereira
  • Ralph Brands
Article

Abstract

Background

Questions regarding control over a water fluoridation system in a British Columbia (BC) community led to a drinking water management survey in 1997–98.

Method

A questionnaire was constructed based on published drinking water control and management criteria and was sent to 91 communities.

Results

73/91 surveys were returned (80% response rate); 31 reported a protected water supply system, 40 reported logging and/or cattle grazing in watershed areas, 25 reported a lack of primary disinfection. Water fluoridation was reported in 12 locations, 3 of which did not monitor fluoride levels. Testing for protozoans was done routinely in 19 locations, 15 using approved laboratories. 15 water contamination events were reported, 9 of biological origin. Statistically significant associations were found between contamination events and: wooden delivery systems, lack of primary chlorination, increased number of protozoan tests, and increased number of personnel.

Interpretation

At the time of the survey in British Columbia, a number of communities were vulnerable to preventable drinking water contamination.

Résumé

Contexte

Les doutes concernant la régulation du système de fluoration de l’eau dans une localité de la Colombie-Britannique ont mené à une enquête sur la gestion de l’eau potable en 1997–1998.

Méthode

À partir de critères publiés sur la régulation et la gestion de l’eau potable, nous avons élaboré un questionnaire, que nous avons envoyé à 91 localités.

Résultats

On nous a retourné 73 questionnaires sur 91 (taux de réponse = 80 %); 31 localités avaient un réseau d’aqueduc protégé, 40 signalaient des activités de bûcheronnage et/ou de pacage du bétail dans les zones du bassin versant, et 25 n’effectuaient pas de désinfection primaire. Trois des 12 localités où l’on procédait à la fluoration de l’eau ne surveillaient pas les niveaux de fluorure. Les tests de dépistage des protozoaires avaient lieu systématiquement dans 19 localités, mais 15 seulement confiaient ce dépistage à des laboratoires agréés. On rapportait 15 cas de contamination de l’eau, dont 9 d’origine biologique. Nous avons établi des associations significatives entre les cas de contamination et: les systèmes d’adduction d’eau en bois; l’absence de chloration primaire; l’accroissement des tests de dépistage des protozoaires; et l’accroissement du personnel.

Interprétation

Au moment de l’enquête, en Colombie-Britannique, plusieurs localités s’exposaient à une contamination évitable de leur eau potable.

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christiaan van Netten
    • 1
    • 2
  • Robert Pereira
    • 1
  • Ralph Brands
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Health Care and Epidemiology, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.Department of Health Care and Epidemiology, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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