Water warning in effect

Okanagan Lake flood barrier removal may expose black water

OKIB image Residents and visitors to Okanagan Lake are warned to beware of the water before entering.

Okanagan Lake residents and visitors are urged to be wary of the water.

As sandbag recovery and debris removal is starting to take place, it is opening up the potential for black water to spill into the lake. Therefore the Okanagan Indian Band Emergency Operations Centre is urging caution.

“The OKIB-EOC would like to remind residents and visitor “to beware of the water” before considering to enter Okanagan Lake for recreational use,” it states in a release.

Flood barrier protections may be surrounding a home holding black water in this pool and if the barriers break due to wave action or disintegrate the black waters will cycle into Okanagan Lake.

“The flooding has impacted septic fields which are directly behind the resident and if and when the water recedes back into the lake, this will further contaminate the lakeshore and lake,” OKIB states, adding it will impact water quality for surface use.

Black water also attracts mosquitoes.

There have been 1,000 barrels reported along the north arm of Okanagan Lake either holding down docks and/or floating in the waters.

“These are hazardous barrels reported to have previously held gasoline, diesel, hydrogen peroxide and pesticides.”

Meanwhile on Kalamalka Lake boat launches remain closed and are expected to remain closed over the weekend. The launch at Paddlewheel Park also remains closed and lake levels continue to be monitored.

Residents and visitors who want to boat on area lakes are encouraged follow the guidelines for respectful boating. They’re encouraged to view the Boating Wake maps at www.cordemergency.ca/map in order to protect against wave generated shoreline erosion. Once lake levels reach more reasonable levels, regular boating activities can resume.

Okanagan and Kalamalka lakes remain about 47 centimetres above full-pool.

When the level of Okanagan Lake reaches 342.60 metres above sea level (it is currently 342.949), most beaches are expected to reopen, and most docks should be above water again. When the lake returns to its normal full-pool level of 342.48, all beaches will reopen and boating activity can return to normal.