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Kelowna’s wastewater plant upgrades lead to end of 11-year water advisory

To improve water quality, the B.C. district added a $3.6-million ultraviolet treatment facility and a treated water storage reservoir. Photo Credit: The Glenmore-Ellison Improvement District.

Kelowna’s wastewater treatment plant has existed in British Columbia since the early 1900s, undergoing a series of periodic upgrades. Now, for the first time in 11 years, about 18,000 Kelowna residents are no longer subject to a tap water quality advisory.

The Glenmore-Ellison Improvement District, with approval from Interior Health, has removed the advisory for people in Kelowna’s Glenmore area. Since the advisory was issued in 2006, the district has undertaken various projects to improve the quality of the water drawn from Okanagan Lake.

The district’s system, originally supplied from Mill Creek, faced issues of chronic turbidity and frequent colour issues, according to Interior Health. To improve water quality and service delivery, the district added nearly $20 million in infrastructure, including a deep-water intake and a high-capacity pump station from Okanagan Lake, along with a $3.6-million ultraviolet treatment facility (video) and a treated water storage reservoir.

“The new UV reactors will allow Glenmore-Ellison to reduce the amount of chlorine used in treating the Okanagan Lake water supply, and this supply now has two disinfection barriers in place,” describes the district’s Interior Health in its Drinking Water Newsletter for Winter 2017.

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In recent years, a $60-million upgrade to the wastewater treatment facility nearly doubled its capacity to 70 million litres a day. According to Siemens Canada, “the new APACS+ OS and SIMATIC S7 control system significantly improves the existing control system with functional enhancements and technological advances driven by Siemens SIMATIC innovations.”

About 600 Ellison area residents serviced by the improvement district remain under a water quality advisory, pending further system improvements expected to be completed within two years.

With more than 30 pump stations,Kelowna’s wastewater treatment plant serves about 80% of Kelowna’s residents. Watch a video tour of the plant below.

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