VERNON - A partial solution to Greater Vernon’s water quality woes is coming down the pipes.
The North Okanagan Regional District has secured nearly $6 million in a grant from the provincial government’s Clean Water and Wastewater Fund.
The $5.8 million will be used for a UV disinfection system at the Duteau Creek Water Treatment Plant.
The funding announcement comes a few years after the failed 2014 borrowing referendum for $70 million in Greater Vernon Water upgrades, including a new filtration system at the community’s primary source of drinking water, the Duteau Creek Water Treatment Plant.
Currently, the Greater Vernon Water system doesn’t meet provincial water quality standards.
“Putting in the UV disinfection will hopefully give us good results in terms of Interior Health testing our water, so we can defer the full filtration at Duteau, which is a significant cost,” Greater Vernon Advisory Committee chair Juliette Cunningham says.
While it remains unknown if the pricey filtration system will be necessary one day, Cunningham says they have at least bought some time.
“That’s one of the advantages of having had the referendum fail, because this has given us more options to look at in terms of technology, and other effective methods to improve the water without going to that final stage of filtration,” Cunningham says.
The province has also announced roughly $3 million for the Okanagan Landing Sewer Extension Project in Vernon, $100,000 for the Coldstream Sewer Extension, and about $200,000 each for Long-Term Wastewater Treatment Plant Upgrades and Groundwater Supply Evaluation and Monitoring Well Construction in Lumby.
“The near $9.4 million combined investment in the North Okanagan will support important infrastructure improvements for treatment and wastewater projects,” Vernon-Monashee MLA Eric Foster says in a media release.
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