The British Columbia community of Greater Vernon will see the construction of a new water filtration facility at its Mission Hill Water Treatment Plant among some $45 million in upgrades.
New federal funding will allow the project to include a new water filtration system, a new building for labs and control rooms, upgrades to waste stream handling, piping and control systems.
Greater Vernon Water delivers an average of 24 billion litres of water to more than 53,000 customers every year, through a grid of 650 km of pipelines that includes 57 pump stations.
The Duteau Creek water source via the Duteau Creek Water Treatment Plant supplies approximately 55% of the utility’s annual water.
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The North Kalamalka Lake supplies the Mission Hill WTP with water and has an intake pipe that is 252 metres long and is 20 metres deep.
The switching of water sources can occur once or twice a year due to turbidity issues for the community, but they are most often shared.
Kevin Acton, chair of the Regional District of North Okanagan Board of Directors, told media that the new filtration plant at Mission Hill will be “crucial” in the face of already seen climate change impacts. In the fall of 2020, the Kalamalka Lake water source was shut off for Greater Vernon water customers due to an increase in algae. Additionally, a boil water notice from the historic 2017 flood resulted in economic losses of over $2 million.
“There are many factors beyond our control that make filtration a necessity for safe drinking water,” announced Acton in a statement from the district.
During the boil water notice in 2017, many Vernon businesses simply chose not to use local water and purchased bottled water instead. Local officials had vowed to not let the ordeal occur again.