KELOWNA - Lawns and gardens south of Mission Creek will have to keep relying on rainfall for the immediate future as there is no end in sight to the problems at a water pumping plant.
All outdoor use of water, including hand watering, was banned last Wednesday, Sept. 4, after an equipment failure that, originally, had been expected to be repaired within a day.
“This is the first time we’ve experienced this type of mechanical failure,” Kevin Van Vliet, the city’s utility services manager said in a news release. “While the affected components have been replaced, the clean-up of the pump station pipes and wet well is a meticulous process that involves several water quality tests to ensure that water from the wet well is safe for consumption.”
The breakdown happened with the ultraviolet disinfection system at the Eldorado pumping station and included broken equipment falling into the wet well, where water accumulates for final distribution.
The broken equipment was a quartz cover for the ultraviolet system, Ed Hoppe, the city's water quality and customer care supervisor later explained to iNFOnews.ca.
He described it as similar to a fluorescent lamp but larger and made of quartz instead of glass. It appears to have overheated and shattered, leaving shards of quartz in the water well. Being in a confined space and needing to make sure that drinking water standards are rigorously met, the cleanup has taken longer than expected.
The city uses a number of similar lamps in other plants and has never had this kind of a problem so, Hoppe expects, it was due to equipment failure but the cause will be investigated.
A few thousand customers south of Mission Creek are serviced by the Eldorado and Cedar Creek pump stations so they are now only getting water from Cedar Creek. When South East Kelowna's new water system is finished next year, that domestic water will come from an expanded Cedar Creek plant and there will be little or no need for the Eldorado pumping station, he said.
The pump station was not running at the time but the equipment failure triggered a complete shut-down of the station.
There is no word from the city on when the system is expected but Hoppe is optimistic it will be soon.
Only indoor water use is allowed and, even then, residents and businesses are asked to use as little as possible.
For more information about the watering restrictions go to the City's website here.
— This story was updated at 4:20 p.m., Sept. 9, 2019, to include more information.
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