Residents in the District of Hudson's Hope have received the news they'd been hoping to hear for quite some time – their water is safe to drink.
"The District of Hudson's Hope in consultation with Northern Health completed all corrective action at the water treatment plant. Aerator and pre-filter media have been replaced. Distribution system has been thoroughly flushed. Chemical and bacteriological analysis of treated water [is] satisfactory," said an open letter to the community Friday morning.
"No chemical or physical parameters exceed acceptable maximum concentrations. Two consecutive sets of bacteriological samples from throughout the distrubution system show total absence of coliforms and E. Coli. In consultation with the drinking water officer and medical health officer, the DO NOT CONSUME order has been rescinded from today, October 14," continued the statement.
Mayor Dave Heiberg termed it as good news but also as a starting point.
"We're not there yet. This is a first good step, but it's only a first step of several steps in the process," Heiberg described.
"Right now, we're actively engaging surface water application and having the conversation with B.C. Hydro."
The parties met earlier this week on Wednesday.
"We seem to be all onboard going back to the river as a good option as soon as possible."
Just what that might look like, still be worked out.
"What we're trying to do is flush out details on the technical side," continued Heiberg.
"Getting the community back to potable water was always a first step. The next step, obviously, is to get away from the aquifer. We find it a deteriorating water source and getting back to a reliable long-term source was always our objective."
Today's decision follows weeks where the community was under both a Do Not Consume and Boil Water Advisory after issues arose with the the filtering system inside the district's water treatment plant – in essence, raw water was being pumped through the plant and not properly treated.
On Sept. 10, after a number of key components in the filtration system were replaced, the district began to flush out its system of impurities.
Combined water test samples taken on the 13th and 14th, 20st and 21nd, and 27th and 28th of last month all failed to meet acceptable levels set out by Northern Health.
That all changed this week when testing from Oct. 4-5 yielded a positive result and led to one final visit by the health authority to the treatment facility Thursday and the subsequent lifting of the orders today.
Heiberg added the district is thankful for the support of Northern Health as it tries to secure a viable option and is hopeful it can help to expedite some of the processes that come when applying for permits.
"There's a lot of irons in the fire trying to move to that long-term solution."
For Heiberg and the community, that road can start now.