09/14/2011 12:16 EDT | Updated 01/12/2012 02:17 EST

Charges laid after 2010 tainted water scare affects thousands near Vernon

VERNON, B.C. - Charges have now been laid under B.C.'s Water Protection and Environmental Management acts following an extensive investigation of the contamination of a North Okanagan water system.

Environment Ministry officials confirm the North Okanagan Regional District, District of Coldstream, Pan-O-Ramic Farm Ltd., and dairy farm owner Ernest Palfrey have been charged.

A court date is set for next month.

Nearly 4,000 residents were affected when E. coli and other bacteria seeped into the Antwerp well system, just east of Vernon, in January, 2010.

No one was sickened, in part because emergency officials worked through the night, as soon as the contamination was discovered, knocking on doors to ensure affected residents in the Coldstream and Lavington communities were warned not to use the water for drinking, washing -- even laundry.

Thousands of litres of bottled water had to be trucked in to the region before a nearly month-long 'do not drink' order was downgraded to a boil water advisory, remaining in effect for weeks. (CiCF)