Resident concerned about sodium level in water

A Rimbey resident with high blood pressure wants the public to be aware of the high level of sodium in the town’s water.

A Rimbey resident with high blood pressure wants the public to be aware of the high level of sodium in the town’s water.

Mary Leighton has been told by her physician to reduce her sodium intake due to her medical condition.

“While I knew that our farm well water was high in sodium, I had no idea that the town water was also high,” she said.

She said Rimbey’s water has 243/mg/l of sodium, far higher than the USDA recommended amount of 20 mg/l and the Canadian drinking water quality guidelines is equal to or less than 200 mg/l.

Leighton believes the public needs to be aware of the high level of sodium in the town’s water and take the necessary steps to ensure drinking the water doesn’t adversely affect their health.

“I was told some years ago that Rimbey is the heart attack capital of Alberta. While the altitude may also factor into this number, I now have to question if water doesn’t play a role.”

Heather Kipling, communications advisor for Alberta Health Services, said the drinking water quality guidelines in Alberta are established by Alberta Environment.

“As the community is a licensed water system operator under Alberta Environment, they, as with other operators, are required to submit regular water samples to Alberta Environment. Alberta Environment alerts Alberta Health Services to any water samples that exceed human health parameters. We have not received any notification of any exceedence of acceptable human health guidelines pertaining to water in the Rimbey-area.”

Information obtained online from Alberta Health Services states sodium is present in the soil and groundwater and reduces the hardness of water. High levels of sodium (more than 50 mg/l) are normally associated with very soft water. Levels above 175 mg/l may impart a salty flavour to water and may have a laxative effect on people not accustomed to the water quality.

Sodium in drinking water is not considered a health hazard for normally healthy people. However, excessive consumption of sodium is not advisable, and the recommended maximum sodium intake from all sources is about 3,000 milligrams per day.

A recommended limit of 20 mg/l has been established for people suffering from hypertension, circulatory or cardiovascular ailments and people on salt-reduced or salt-free diets.

Although sodium in drinking water does not cause these conditions, it is a contributing factor to people pre-disposed to these ailments.

AHS advise people who are concerned about the sodium level in their water supply to contact their physician.