Questions & Answers
The Questions and Answers page was created to address inaccurate information circulating in the community and media. If you hear information in the community that you believe should be corrected please email the City.
In order to fact check the question, we do require some information and sources. Below are some helpful tips on how you can help us “set the record straight”.
Tips for submitting a question:
- Broadcasts: Date and time of broadcast along with the station
- Media: Links to media articles, editorials, Letters to the Editor
- Social Media Post: Screenshot(s) of the post in question or provide the link to it
Is there a presence of glyphosate in White Rock water?
In August 2017, the City was made aware of a resident who claimed that they had tested water in White Rock and found the presence of glyphosate through a home testing kit ordered over the internet. Read the original email (PDF).
Furthermore, this individual has appeared on an online podcast to further spread his claims that glyphosate is in the water. The White Rock Safe Water Alliance group has also made claims that glyphosate is in White Rock Water on their blog.
Incorrect. There is no glyphosate in White Rock water. The City conducted tests for glyphosate through Exova and found that there was no glyphosate in the water. All tests concluded that glyphosate was undetectable in White Rock Water.
The water was tested prior to the addition of secondary disinfectant to avoid any possibility of oxidation of the alleged contaminate. View the testing results (PDF).
Exova follows the U.S EPA Sampling Procedures, and Chain of Custody of Samples and Data. Canadian labs follow the U.S EPA methods as this is the International Standard. For example, the World Health Organization follows the U.S EPA methods.
What the U.S. EPA Emphasizes the Following
The purpose of sampling is to collect representative portions from a suspected contaminated site. Sample collection is critical to determining the presence, type, concentration, and extent of environmental contamination by hazardous substances; thus, it is a crucial part of every sampling and environmental testing effort. Sampling procedures must be consistently followed to mitigate risk of error and the expense of re-sampling.
Failure to follow proper sampling and shipping procedures could result in samples that are contaminated, in broken containers, mislabeled, lost during shipping, or unusable because of a missed holding time. If procedures are inconsistently or improperly followed, any resultant analytical data may be inaccurate and may not be legally defensible.
Maintain Chain of Custody of Samples & Data
Acquiring accurate and legally defensible data is the CLP’s primary objective; therefore, the sampler must collect samples according to strict sampling procedures, plans, and guidelines.
EPA and many other Federal agencies use data resulting from analytical testing of samples to:
- Assess response and remedial priorities
- Assess risk to human health and the environment
- Determine appropriate cleanup actions
- Determine cleanup achievements
- Determine if a site is contaminated with organic and/or inorganic compounds
- Identify pollution sources
- Identify Potentially Responsible Parties (PRPs)
- Validate remedial design methodologies
tThe City is aware of misinformation circulating about high rises on Marine Drive and the Economic Investment Committee. The City would like to clear up the misinformation that we are aware of.
Has the Economic Investment Committee approved changes to allow for high-rises on Marine Drive?
No, the Official Community Plan (OCP), which was adopted in 2017, designates properties along Marine Drive as the ‘Waterfront Village’ land use. This land use limits building heights to 4 storeys or less. A 4-storey building is not classified as high rise development. High-rise buildings are typically 8 to 10 storeys and higher.
The discussion in the Economic Investment Committee which was related to this topic was an update on the status of the forthcoming Zoning Bylaw review. The Zoning Bylaw Review project will look to update the commercial zones on Marine Drive, and throughout the city, to be consistent with the OCP.
Again, the update to the Zoning Bylaw is necessary to make it compliant with the new OCP and limits building heights to 4 storeys or less for buildings on Marine Drive.
Does the Economic Investment Committee have the authority to change zoning and make decisions about land use and zoning (such as density and building height) without the approval of Council?
No, the purpose of the Economic Investment Committee is to advise City Council and staff regarding matters referred to the Committee by Council regarding economic investment in the City. The Committee may make representation to Council on economic development matters, but the committee cannot approve zoning amendments.
The Economic Investment Committee can submit recommendations to City Council. These recommendations would appear on the agenda of a Regular Council meeting and could be voted on by City Council. Only Council can consider and approve or deny land use and zoning changes, including changes to building height.
Is the City hiding how much it paid for the water utility?
- The City made a $14 million advance payment to EPCOR but this was not considered to be the final purchase price.
- In October of 2017, the City of White Rock and EPCOR agreed on a final purchase price of $13.4 million. (See news release, "City of White Rock and EPCOR Agree Upon Final Purchase Price for Water Utility.")
- EPCOR purchased the privately-owned and operated White Rock Utilities water assets on May 1, 2005.
- On June 10, 2013, City of White Rock Council voted unanimously to direct the chief administrative officer to acquire title to the water utility.
- The City’s desire to purchase the utility assets arose out of an interest by the City Council and administration to own its water assets and have the economic benefits go to White Rock and its residents. Certain community groups were also advocating for the acquisition.
- The City made an initial payment of $14 million plus adjustments towards the water utility acquisition.
What is the City doing to address the water discolouration and quality?
In under two years of owning the water utility which services our community, the City has taken many steps towards improving the safety of our water, water quality, and water infrastructure.
Most recently, in April of 2017, the City changed its secondary disinfectant to monochloramine as chlorine was reacting with the naturally occurring manganese causing taste, cloudiness, colour, and odour issues. While the water is safe, to control these aesthetic issues it was necessary to switch to monochloramine as the secondary disinfectant.
We do know that some people are still experiencing occasional discolouration, but we are hopeful that as the new secondary disinfectant makes its way through the system, this matter will be resolved. Did you know that nearly 100 million North Americans have been drinking water treated with monochloramine for over 70 years? Perhaps you have even vacationed at a city that uses monochloramine as a secondary disinfection.
How is the City communicating or engaging with the public about water in White Rock?
Since acquiring the water utility from EPCOR, the City has provided an unprecedented level of information to the public through public meetings, marketing and communication campaigns, and on the City’s website under the Water page, which includes links to the following areas:
Brochures included in Water Bills - The City includes informative brochures enclosed in each water bill which provides updates on the City’s various water-related initiatives and activities.
City Water Projects - Where you can find information on the capital projects related to water as part of the City’s Total Water Quality Management Project.
Event Materials - Contains the material from the number of Water Quality Open Houses, community forums, and public information meetings.
Flushing Program - informs the public of the flushing program, when City Staff would be flushing, and what to do and not to do when flushing is taking place in their area. Our staff also hand-deliver notices to residents in the area a few days prior to the flushing starting in their area.
Historic Funding Announcement - the City received nearly $12 million dollars in government grant funds to help improve the City’s water quality through the construction of treatment processes, set to be completed by March 2019.
Water Quality - Where you can find monthly water quality test results from the time the City acquired the water utility from EPCOR, who did not provide such information.
Water Research - to ensure the City implements the right technology to reach its water quality goals and address concerns like yours, it partnered with RES'EAU-WaterNET.
The City provides updates to Council and the public on the status of the City’s water quality and infrastructure through additional Corporate Reports. For example, there is a Corporate Report on “Public Awareness Regarding City’s Water Related Activities” (PDF) which provides links, screenshots of the marketing communication activities the City undertook to inform and educate the public on its research partnership, chlorination, and Open House. Regular Council Meetings are also live streamed and available on demand.