Why is water pressure different in different areas of the community?
Due to the elevation differences in the City, the City cannot provide every property with the same pressure. Water pressures in the City’s water mains are controlled by a series of pump stations and large pressure reducing valves. Pressures generally range between 45 and 125 psi as per industry standards. Water pressures can also vary based on time of day and community water use.
My water pressure is too high. What can I do?
If you feel your water pressure is too high, you can install a pressure reducing valve (PRV) to lower the pressure in your home or business. PRV’s are required for buildings where pressure is expected to be greater than 80 psi.
What is a pressure reducing valve (PRV)?
Pressure reducing valves are installed in a plumbing system to regulate water pressure.
Do I have a PRV? Where would it be? What does it look like?
Most homes in the City should be equipped with a pressure reducing valve (PRV) as per the BC Plumbing Code and the City’s Water Regulations Bylaw 3216, 2006. To locate or to determine if you have a PRV, first locate where you water service line comes into your home or business. Following the water line in your home, there should be a water shutoff valve and the water piping could branch out with one going to the outdoor tap and the other leading into the internal plumbing; a PRV would be located right before it splits up. It may be in a crawl space or near your hot water tank.
I don’t have a PRV. How do I find out if I need one?
If you are experiencing significant pressure fluctuations or water flow from fixtures appear higher than normal, you may need a PRV. If you are unsure whether you need one, contact 250-203-2316.
Where do I get a PRV?
Plumbing and building supply stores will carry them.
Can I replace/install a PRV myself?
Yes, valves may be installed by property owners themselves (single family homes only) or with the assistance of a plumbing professional. If you are installing a new PRV, please call the City’s Building Department at 250-286-5725 to check if you need a plumbing permit.
How do I know if my existing PRV has failed?
The most common signs that a PRV is beginning to fail are:
Can my PRV be adjusted or repaired?
Yes, slight variations in water pressure can typically be addressed with minor adjustments to the PRV. Be sure to check manufacturer’s instructions before making adjustments. Many user manuals can be found on-line if you are unable to find yours. You can also contact a plumber to have your PRV adjusted or repaired. However, if your PRV is older (typically more than 5 years), it may be difficult or impossible to make adjustments. You should then consider replacing your PRV.
My water pressure is too low. What can I do?
If your water pressure has decreased over time, you should troubleshoot your plumbing (see below or contact a plumber) to see if there is a problem with your plumbing that is causing the low pressure. BC Plumbing Code requires a minimum water pressure at point of entry to a building of 29 psi. Some people may find this pressure too low and may choose to install a booster pump. If you wish to do this, please contact a plumbing professional.
Troubleshooting water pressure problems
Check your taps
If you have lower pressure than expected, your faucet could be plugged with debris:
Check your home or business shut-off valve
Check that the shut-off valve to ensure it is fully opened. Your shut-off valve is usually located either close to the hot water tank or where the main water line enters your home or business.
Check tap valves
Ensure the shut-off valves under your sinks are in full open position.
Check the pressure reducing valve (PRV)
water pressure may be caused by a PRV that is over 5 years old and requires service or replacement. PRVs can usually be adjusted if a loss of water pressure is the issue.
Check irrigation or sprinkler system
If you have an irrigation system (even if turned off for the winter), check for leakage as this could be the cause of your pressure issue.
Check for water maintenance work
Your water pressure may be temporarily affected by water system maintenance work in your area. Look for a City notice or water crews working near your home. Some examples of work that could affect water pressure are water main breaks or a hydrant in use.
Who to contact to have your water shut off or on or to locate your water service:
Water Service Turn On/Off
To have your water service turned on or off, please contact Dogwood Operations at 250-286-4033 during office hours, from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm, Monday to Friday. We require your name, phone number and address of the requested water shut off/on. Please allow us 48 hours notice so that we may schedule the water works crew accordingly.
There is a $30.00 fee for the water shut off, and an additional $30.00 for the turn on, which must be paid in the Finance Department at City Hall.
Water Service Connection Locate
To locate your service connection, a $30 deposit is required to begin the locate and the work will be invoiced at $100/hour upon completion. Please pay the deposit in the Finance Department at City Hall.
Upon payment of the deposit, we will attend during our regular working hours from 8:00 am - 4:00 pm, Monday to Friday, to locate the valve, and turn the water off. The homeowner or plumber can call Dogwood Operations when they are ready to have the water turned on.
Emergency Water Shut Off
For emergency water shut off requests, please contact Dogwood Operations at 250-286-4033 during office hours, from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm, Monday to Friday. Emergency water shut offs are invoiced at $200/hour.
If the water shut off is an after hours emergency request (a water line break, for instance), please call our after hours phone line 250-287-7444, and someone will be dispatched to the site as soon as possible
Information about protecting Campbell River's watershed:
What are the consequences if people pollute the watershed?
We are very fortunate to have such a high quality source for drinking water. If this high quality were diminished, the City would be required to provide additional treatment measures (i.e. filtration) to maintain high quality drinking water for the community. Construction and operation of additional treatment would increase the costs of the water system to the community.
Why do we allow public access in the watershed? Is that safe?
The City has limited ability to restrict access to the watershed because most of the area is outside City boundaries. Access restrictions vary in portions of the watershed, based on risk level. For example, John Hart Lake, where we draw City water, is designated as a community watershed, and motorized access and camping are not permitted. This is enforced by the Ministry of Forests and Range. Barring access to the entire watershed (1,822 square kilometres) would mean cutting off road access to Gold River, the mine and recreational opportunities, including the McIvor Lake area. As this is not practical, proper management of our watershed is vital to ensure that we maintain the high quality of community drinking water supply.
Who is responsible for keeping the watershed clean?
The entire community is responsible for keeping our watershed clean. Because most of Campbell River’s 1,822 square kilometre watershed is outside City boundaries, the City has limited enforcement abilities within the watershed. A Technical Watershed Committee works to protect the watershed by increasing community awareness and cooperation. The water festival and watershed clean-up events in August are examples of methods used to raise awareness. Committee members include local residents as well as representatives from: Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Forests and Range, Vancouver Island Health Authority, City of Campbell River, BC Hydro, and NVI Mining Ltd. (Myra Falls mines). Campbell River’s watershed protection plan is used as an example for other communities.
What about homes and septic fields in and around the watershed?
There are no homes or septic fields on John Hart Lake. Vancouver Island Health Authority regulates the location of septic fields within the other areas of the watershed, specifying distance from shore required to protect water quality.
Should the City move the water intake into a different part of the watershed?
The current water intake location is at the most pristine (and best protected) part of the watershed. The long distance from the upper lakes is a benefit as it provides reaction time if there were a contamination event.
Information about water leaks in Campbell River:
How do I know if I have a water leak?
Drainage problems are often mistaken for water leaks. If water is coming out of the ground after heavy or continuous rainfall, it is unlikely to be a water leak. If the weather has been dry, the water coming up is likely a water leak.
How do I report a water leak?
Call the Dogwood Operations Center at 250-286-4033 to report water leaks. After-hour emergencies: 250-287-7444
Is the leak on my property or the City’s right of way?
Leaks that are between the water main and property lines are the City’s responsibility. Crews will turn off the water at the property shut-off valve to determine where the leak is. If the leak stops after closing the property shut-off valve, then the leak is on the homeowner’s side. The City does not repair leaks on private property. Various local plumbing companies provide this service.
How long before the City repairs the leak if it is their responsibility?
If the leak is the City's responsibility, it will take an average of four to six days for repairs. In order to work safely, crews must receive proper permits and paper work first, which take approximately three days. If the leak is causing damage to property or creating significant risks to safety, the repair will be expedited.
How much water is lost to leaks in the water system?
Without meters on all properties, it is difficult to accurately measure leaks in the water distribution system. Due to the age and material type of the overall distribution system, leaks are estimated at about 15 per cent of the water in the system, including homes and businesses.
Answers to frequently asked questions about the watermain flushing program:
Why are you flushing the watermains?
Water normally travels slowly through mains, causing sediment to settle at the bottom and build up over time. The City flushes the watermains by forcing water through them at a high speed and discharging it through hydrants. This water flow scours and cleans any sediment from inside the mains. We leave the hydrant open until the water runs clear.
How will this affect me?
Usually, you will not be aware that flushing is even taking place in your neighbourhood. Flushing is generally conducted between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.When flushing is underway, short periods of low pressure and discoloured water may occur. Both will be temporary and water remains safe to use and drink. Please minimize your water use if discoloured water is noticed as the sediments may stain your laundry or plug your household PRV. Businesses that may be affected like hairdressers and laundromats, will be notified in person before the city conducts flushing in their area. To clear your water lines, turn on your cold water tap until the water runs clear.
How long does it take to flush the watermains on each street?
Flushing time ranges from 30 minutes up to two hours, depending on the amount of piping to be cleaned in the area.
What should I do if the water is still discoloured after two or three hours?
If this happens, please call the City’s Dogwood Operations Centre at 250-286-4033.
Why is my water cloudy after flushing? Water is cloudy when air gets in it and makes tiny bubbles. These bubbles are harmless and will disappear once the water sits for a few minutes.
Why can't you flush the watermains at night?
It is safer for employees to conduct this work on the streets in daylight. Also, it is easier in the daylight to see when all the sediment has been flushed out and the water is running clear.
Is watermain flushing a waste of water?
The flushing program is done in spring and fall to avoid putting additional stress on the water system during high demand times (hot summer days). All of the water used to flush watermains is measured, and the City’s unidirectional flushing technique reduces the water needed to clean the system by 40 per cent.
Where will you drain the water used in the flushing program?
Water is discharged into street catch basins, ultimately ending up in the City’s stormwater system and the ocean. The City uses sodium thiosulphate to neutralize the chlorine from the water before it is discharged.
Do other cities have similar watermain flushing programs?
Most cities have some type of flushing program to clean their watermains. This is considered the best way to maintain high water quality throughout a distribution system.
Information about water meters in Campbell River:
Is the City planning to install water meters in local residences/businesses?
Water meters are currently required on all properties, however single family residential and duplex properties pay a flat rate for water.
Why does the City require the installation of water service boxes in new home construction?
While many people refer to these boxes as water meter boxes, they also contain back flow prevention devices (protects the water quality within the distribution system) and shut-off valves. These boxes also make it easier for property owners and the City’s water department to locate water services as they are less likely to be buried than a shut-off that is not contained within a box. Also, installing the boxes in new construction is a cost-effective way to plan for the potential that water meters might be inserted at some point in the future.
Will the homeowner have to bear the burden of the cost to retrofit with meters?
Because there are no plans to install water meters, no funding strategy has been developed.
Is any money already put aside for water meter installation in City or in the surrounding region?
Are there other examples where new construction is required to accommodate a potential technological advancement?
Yes, Campbell River has signed on as a BC Solar Community, and new homes are now required to be solar-ready to allow for cost-effective conversion to solar hot-water heating. New homes are also commonly built with additional wiring and networking to avoid costly retrofits to accommodate additional electronics.
Answers to frequently asked questions about water rates:
How much do I pay for water?
Metered properties (generally commercial, industrial, institutional and multi-family) pay $0.72 per cubic meter of consumption. Single family home properties pay a flat fee of $36/month.
What is the City’s cost for water supply? Does Campbell River pay a tax, or rental for a water license? And is it based on consumption, or a flat rate?
The City pays BC Hydro and purchases a water license from the Province based on consumption. The City’s supply is capped, and to apply to increase our water supply, we would likely be asked to demonstrate conservation efforts to ensure responsible use of this valuable resource.
Do areas other than residents and businesses in Campbell River use City water?The Strathcona Regional District Area D and three local First Nations pay for bulk supply of Campbell River water because connecting to the City’s existing system is the most affordable way for them to provide water to their residents and businesses.
Do the rates currently paid by residents supplement reserves for eventual upgrades? As water is a utility, all monies collected for water are required by legislation to be used for water. Portions of the utility fees collected are used for day-to-day operations and portions are allocated for future capital improvements.
Answers to your questions about water quality in Campbell River:
How is our drinking water treated to keep it safe?
Because the source for our drinking water has naturally low sediment and mineral content, the City only disinfects our water at one ultraviolet light facility and three chlorination stations.
How would people be notified if a water quality problem arose?
If the quality of our drinking water presented a health risk, the City would immediately issue a notice to the community through the media and other available resources. The City would coordinate with all available agencies such as Vancouver Island Health Authority, the Strathcona Regional District, BC Hydro and the Fire Department to ensure the community is aware of any health risks.
How do I know my water is safe to drink?
To ensure our drinking water is clean and safe to drink, the City monitors the source waters and the distribution system with both online instrumentation at points of disinfection and a comprehensive sampling program. Weekly samples are taken at various locations throughout the City and submitted to the BC Centre for Disease Control for bacterial analysis. As well, the City tests for water quality according to the BC Drinking Water Protection Act and Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality (See more information here at the Health Canada website)
Why does my water sometimes look brown?
Brown water from your tap is usually caused by a change to the normal flow in a watermain. The change can occur from opening or closing a watermain valve, opening a fire hydrant, or a watermain break. The brown colour is from normal sediment in the pipes coming off the bottom and flowing with the water to your tap. Try flushing out the brown water by running your cold water for 10 to 15 minutes. If the brown water doesn’t clear, it may be caused by old, rusty pipes inside the building or from a failing hot water tank. If you have ongoing problems with brown water, please contact Dogwood Operations Centre Monday to Friday from 8am to 4:00 pm at 250-287-4033.
Why does my water sometimes look “milky” and “cloudy”?
Cloudy water is usually the result of air in the watermains. Air may be introduced into the mains during repairs or from opening fire hydrants. Although it is temporary, it may take several hours for the air to dissipate. To check, fill a glass of water and leave it on the counter for a few minutes. The water should clear. This type of cloudy water is safe to drink..
Do we have fluoride in our water?
The community voted to discontinue the addition of fluoride to drinking water in a 1993 referendum. We suggest you consult your dentist if you require fluoride treatment.
Do I need to buy a water softener?
No, Campbell River’s drinking water is soft at 22 mg/L. Water is considered soft at 60mg/L, hard at 200mg/L and unacceptable at 500mg/L for domestic purposes. Hard water is a result of dissolved minerals in water as it passes through soil and rock. Usually ground water is harder than surface water. Water softeners are available to reduce the hardness of water.
Why do my toilet and bathroom tiles sometimes turn pink?
According to the American Water Works Association (AWWA), the pink residue is likely associated with naturally occurring airborne bacteria that produces a pinkish film and sometimes a dark gray film, on surfaces that are regularly moist, including toilet bowls, showerheads, sink drains and tiles. The problem is more common in humid regions like Campbell River. In many cases, the pinkish film appears during and after new construction or remodeling activities. The dirt and dust stirred up from the work probably contains the bacteria and makes it airborne. The best solution to keep these surfaces free from the bacterial film is regular cleaning.
Is there arsenic in the water?
The City tests for arsenic in the distribution system on a quarterly basis, and there is no presence of arsenic in the drinking water.
What is the pH of our water?
The pH scale ranges between 0 – 14. The lower end of the scale is acidic, the higher end is alkaline, and 7 is neutral. City of Campbell River drinking water has an average of 7.08 pH.
Alerts and Water Restrictions Answers to your questions about water restrictions and water sprinkling in Campbell River:
Why are water restrictions needed in Campbell River? Isn’t there an endless supply of water in the lakes?
While the Campbell River watershed is quite large, there is a limit to the amount of water that the City can disinfect and deliver - Within the 1,065 litres/second (l/s) system capacity, 300 l/s is allocated for fire protection, leaving 765 l/s available is for domestic use. Any time we have sustained use over the 765 l/s threshold, we are compromising the water available for fire protection. Water restrictions may also be needed in emergency situations such as an interface fire, significant failure of the water system, or extreme drought.
How does a drought affect lake levels and the amount of water available to the City?
The lakes in the Campbell River watershed are capable of storing water for the drier summer months. The levels of these reservoirs are controlled by BC Hydro as per their water license and the Campbell River System Water Use Plan. Due to the size of the watershed, the amount of water withdrawn for the City’s water system has a negligible impact on lake levels as long as the water consumption is kept within reasonable limits.
How does the City determine when to implement higher stages of restrictions?
During the summer season, the City closely monitors water use. The decision to implement higher stages of restrictions considers the water use patterns and weather forecasts. Increased restrictions are generally triggered by sustained water consumption over the domestic water allowance combined with forecasts of increasing temperatures. Higher restrictions can also be triggered by specific situations such as an interface fire, significant failure of the water system, or extreme drought (i.e. if there was a risk of running out of water in the watershed).
Is there anything that the community can do to avoid or delay an increase to water restrictions?
Yes, the community’s willingness to limit water consumption and follow the watering restriction times is the key to delaying and/or avoiding increased water restrictions. Increased water consumption and/or failure to follow restriction times increases the likelihood of further restrictions being imposed upon the community.
Why are there different stages of watering restrictions and how do they make a difference in water use?
Stage 1 and 2 watering restrictions have been designed to help the City manage the peak usage periods to ensure adequate water is available for fire protection by controlling when water is used for various activities. Stage 3 watering restrictions are intended to significantly limit water consumption in case of an interface fire, emergency maintenance on the water system or extreme drought.
Where does it apply?
The bylaw applies to all residents within the City of Campbell River boundaries. Properties outside city boundaries are governed by the Strathcona Regional District. This includes properties south of Jubilee Parkway.
What if I have new lawn?
New Watering Permits are only available during Stage 1 restrictions. Residents who obtained Watering Permits to water a new lawn during Stage 1 restrictions may continue to water with the existing permit into Stage 2 restrictions, until their 21 day period for sod or 45 day period for seed is complete. There is no watering allowed in Stage 3 restrictions, even with an existing Watering Permit.
What are the watering restrictions in strata housing?
Strata operated common area irrigation systems are considered non-residential, with the strata address controlling their allowable watering days. If residents wish to water these centrally irrigated areas additionally, they must also water during non-residential hours according to the main strata address. Areas within strata's without a common area irrigation system are considered residential, with the unit address controlling their allowable watering days. This is to spread out the watering demand for the area as much as possible. Basing individual unit watering times on their unit number helps to spread out the instantaneous water use for the property.
Can I water my hanging baskets, vegetables, shrubs and lawn during the day?
Yes, if you use a hand-held container or hose with automatic shut-off nozzle. You can also water these during the day, if you have a micro-irrigation or drip-irrigation system, but not a soaker hose.
What is the difference between a micro-irrigation system and a soaker hose?
A micro- or drip-irrigation system uses components that deliver less than 20 litres per hour and operate at less than 25 pounds per square inch to deliver water to the root zone of the plant material being irrigated. This includes spray emitter systems, point source emitters and linear tape systems as defined by the BC Trickle Irrigation manual. This does not include soaker or weeper hoses, as these operate at the standard water pressure and can deliver 20 litres per minute.
Can I pressure wash my driveway, house?
During Stage 1 restrictions – Yes, but please use just enough water for the job. During Stage 2 and Stage 3 restrictions – not allowed.
Can I wash my car, house, or boat during the day?
During Stage 1 restrictions - Yes, if you use a hose nozzle with an automatic shut-off valve. Better yet, use a bucket and a rag. During Stage 2 and Stage 3 restrictions - not allowed except at commercial car washes or car dealerships.
I just saw a property sprinkling on the wrong day/wrong time, what should I day?
Call the City of Campbell River water hotline: 250-203-2316 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org Provide the address, date and time that you observed the sprinkling violation. Also provide your own phone number and name. We will not disclose sources of information, but we do not follow up on "anonymous" calls.
What if my question was not listed here?
Call or e-mail the water hotline. Phone: 250-203-2316. Email: email@example.com
Visit: Alerts and Water Restrictions
301 St. Ann's Road, Campbell River, BC,
V9W 4C7 | Tel. 250-286-5700 |