CTV W5 Asbestos Cement Pipe News Story - VIHA Stance
May 01, 2023
Good afternoon residents. It has come to our attention that some community members have shown concern over the recent news story from CTV W5. We spoke with W5 when they contacted us months ago asking how much of our system included Asbestos Cement (AC) pipe. We want to point out; their news story did not include any research or documentation regarding health risks associated with AC pipes. Their report only outlines how many communities still utilize AC pipes. Yes, Cherry Creek contains approximately 16km of AC pipe. It is part of our asset management plan to replace this pipe.
We have reached out to VIHA to obtain their stance on the subject. This is Vancouver Island Health's response:
Quote "As discussed, after speaking with you regarding the concerns you are receiving from your water users regarding asbestos piping. The below messaging is our position and has been approved by our leadership team and our drinking water consultant:
Health Canada has concluded that there is “no consistent, convincing evidence that asbestos ingested through water is harmful to your health (Health Canada, 2021)”. The World Health Organization has indicated that the available research does not demonstrate an increased risk of stomach and gastrointestinal cancers. Based on this evidence, both the World Health Organization and Health Canada have concluded that setting a guideline value for asbestos fibres in drinking water is not warranted. BC’s Ministry of Health and Island Health base safe, drinking water standards off the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality established my Health Canada and have therefore also not adopted a guideline value for asbestos in drinking water. Island Health will not require asbestos fibre testing in drinking water systems.
The World Health Organization does acknowledge that there are limitations of the available data and still support minimizing the amount of asbestos that may enter drinking water. The provision of non-aggressive and stable drinking water with low corrosivity can help prevent asbestos fibres from entering the drinking water from asbestos containing infrastructure. Maintenance programs which include coating asbestos-containing water mains and eventual replacement of piping through asset management plans will also reduce the chance of asbestos fibres entering drinking water.
Both Health Canada and World Health Organization have excellent resource information for further detail at the following links:
Government of Canada – Asbestos in Drinking Water
World Health Organization – Asbestos in Drinking-Water
If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact your local Environmental Public Health Office
Please feel free to touch base if you need anything further. This message can also be shared with your water users or others that have concerns." End Quote
CCWWD hopes this helps put ease to some residents' minds.