Interior Health has issued a do not use order for water in a three-kilometre radius from the intersection of Sanders Road and Johnstone Creek Road West between Bridesville and Rock Creek.
The health authority says RCMP have told them a clandestine drug lab has been depositing solvents and other hazardous materials onto the soil of a property in the area, possibly contaminating the local water table.
The order applies to all water sources within the area. The communities of Bridesville, Rock Creek, and Midway are not impacted and there is no risk to water users downstream along the Kettle River.
Although the risk of exposure to the materials and potential health impacts are considered low, Interior Health says it has issued this warning as a precautionary measure until further investigation and water testing of the affected area is completed.
Interior Health says the order covers about 25 properties. Environmental health officers have been in the area today hand delivering notices to affected residents.
Safe drinking water is being provided for the impacted residents at a filling station at the Rock Creek fair grounds.
Residents in the impacted area should contact Jodi Klein at 250-449-1991 to coordinate a time to pick up water. Affected residents who need further assistance getting water can contact Dan Derby at [email protected].
RCMP say in addition to seizing a “significant” amount of drugs, and “numerous” weapons, they arrested two men.
“We believe the sophisticated lab had the potential to produce significant amount of methamphetamine. In shutting it down we have prevented dangerous illicit drugs from reaching our communities,” Sgt. Annie Linteau said in a news release. “As disturbing though, was the dumping of hazardous chemicals on the property, which potentially could have harmed innocent people living in the area.”
RCMP officers and hazardous material contractors are expected to remain on the site for several days as the investigation continues. Charges are pending.
RCMP members with specialized training and have special equipment are processing material that is too dangerous for other police officers to touch.