British Columbia bottled water company received a massive order from Japan after Tokyo’s water supply was contaminated -
A British Columbia bottled water company has received a massive order from Japan after a government warning that Tokyo’s water supply was contaminated with radioactive materials.
As of Friday, Polaris Water, based in the Vancouver suburb of Burnaby, B.C., had been contracted by a Japanese distributor to ship two million 1.5-litre bottles of water by the end of April, spokesman Chris Dagenais said.
He said that’s 10 times more than what the company usually ships in April. The extra workload has meant employees are putting in overtime to meet the demand.
Tokyo’s local government issued a warning Wednesday after officials discovered slightly elevated levels of radioactive iodine in the city’s water. The iodine leaked into the water after Japan’s nuclear reactors were damaged following the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami March 11.
Parents were advised not to give tap water to babies, who are the most vulnerable to iodine. But by Friday, Japanese officials had said the radioactive levels in the water had dropped off and it was safe to drink.
Ordinarily at this time, Polaris Water would send about 15 shipping containers of water to Japan. Now they are trying to fill 150 containers with bottles of their Whistler Water Co. brand, Mr. Dagenais said.
“There’s no end in sight. It looks like our entire April schedule is dedicated to producing product for Japan,” he said.
“It’s meant multiple shifts, longer days and a good deal of overtime. But what’s really heartening is that some of the staff have volunteered their time — that was really inspiring.”
He said the company will donate two container loads out of 100 to the region.
The first shipment is due to arrive in Japan by freighter on April 4, followed by one shipment per week for the month.
“We’ll be shipping as much water as we possibly can out of that facility.”
Mr. Dagenais said that despite Japanese authorities’ attempt to ease fears, there has still been a run a water.
“Our distributor in Tokyo has been leveraged by various (non-government organizations)and government groups in Japan to supply water to the people, so as their supplier, we’re now at a bit of a manic pace to do what we can.”
Meanwhile, a Richmond, B.C., freight company is calling on more beverage companies to send water to help Japan. Canaan Transport Co. has already shipped seven containers of bottled water to the earthquake and tsunami ravaged country.
Tiffany Vandenberghe, a spokeswoman for Canaan, said they have a few containers left to donate.
Vandenberghe said the company has several bottled water suppliers volunteering to donate their water.
Canada has joined several other countries in imposing new restrictions on foods from Japan. Milk, fruit and vegetables from the area will require documents verifying their safety before they can be allowed into Canada, according to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.