Saturday , October 23 2021

Major B.C. wind storm takes water treatment plant in Nanaimo; residents asked to conserve water


The boats are hit by waves at the end of White Rock Pier which was severely damaged during a windstorm in White Rock on December 20, 2018.

DARRYL DYCK / The Canadian Press

A large wind storm – which ripped through trees, delayed flights and ferries, knocked down energy and even arrested one – struck the southern coast of Boston, leaving many Nanaimo residents powerless and a city warning on Vancouver Island to save water.

Nanaimo Mayor Leonard Krog said the storm caused a power outage at the city's water treatment plant. The factory had a backup generator, but also failed, although the facility has managed to restore partial power. The city has worked with the generator manufacturer to run the plant as soon as possible.

BC Hydro said that there are still 150,000 customers in B.C. without power by the end of Friday morning. Sixty thousand of these customers were in the Lower Mainland and the rest on Vancouver Island.

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"Vancouver Island was hit hard by the storm," the utility said in a statement, noting that Nanaimo and Duncan endured the worst.

Krog said that the reservoirs where the Nanaimo treated water is stored are not being replenished, so the residents were asked to conserve the water until the treatment system is working again.

"We do not have an expectation right now [of when it will be fixed]and this is one of the disturbing things. We honestly do not know, "Krog said in an interview.

Mr. Krog said the water currently in the reservoirs is treated and safe to use.

"But if [the plant] can not be corrected in a quick matter – and we hope it is – then we will have to simply ignore the treatment plant. People will receive "fresh water" and there will have to be advice on boiling water, "Krog said.

Nanaimo resident Jacqui Yeo still had no water in her house on Friday afternoon, which she said complicated the water situation.

"I can not drink water or bathe in my house now." "I do not mind boiling water, I did it before, but my area has no energy," Yeo said.

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She said she found out about the city's third-hand water consultation instead of receiving a direct warning.

"I wish there was a better communication system for the citizens of Nanaimo if there was a disaster. I get most of my Facebook stuff. If I can not charge my phone, it's a bit stressful … even on Facebook [water advisory] was hard to find, "Yeo said.

About 500 BC, Hydro employees were on the field working to replace damaged poles and restrict hydroelectric lines, the utility said. The company said it expects some customers to run out of power on Saturday.

The chaotic storm also stalled Oren Perry, who was standing on a pier in White Rock, BC, after strong winds caused part of the structure to collapse. Mr. Perry was rescued by a Coast Guard helicopter.

The BC Coroners Service confirmed on Friday that a female of nearly 20 years died in an accident involving a tree, which fell in a tent in Duncan, BC. It is not clear whether the tree has fallen because of strong winds. BC Coroners Service said in a statement that they are in the early stages of fact finding. The North Cowichan / Duncan RCMP said in a statement, there were five people in the tent at the time. Two male occupants were injured – one was taken by helicopter and the other was transported to the hospital for treatment.

With a Canadian press report.

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