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Island Health has ordered the Comox Valley Regional District, the Village of Cumberland and Timberwest to report back by September 15th on what can be done to prevent turbidity issues in Comox Lake.

Following a storm late last year water in the reservoir remained “cloudy” for over a month and a half and a boil water advisory remained in effect for 47 days affecting 41,000 people. Officials with the Regional District are almost certain the turbidity issues were caused by run-off in a spillway from a smaller reservoir in the hills above Cumberland on land owned by Timberwest.

The 800 metre spillway is lined by clay banks rising 35 metres high.

“It’s just the way that bedrock kind of undercuts that clay. The end result is that the clay would actually slough off and it’s the sloughing off that happened that’s basically how all the clay ended up down in Comox Lake and stayed suspended there for almost two months” said Bob Well, Chair of the Comox Valley Regional District Water Committee.

The study is required to be completed by September 15 and should include a definitive cause of the turbidity as well as possible ways to remediate it and what it might cost to fix it. “A boil water advisory again would be a real headache for everybody, I mean it’s nuisance and if you’re a business owner, a restaurant I mean it could have a real economic impact as well” added Wells.