Vernon to discharge treated sewage into Okanagan Lake | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Vernon to discharge treated sewage into Okanagan Lake

Vernon Water Reclamation Centre
Image Credit: City of Vernon

The City of Vernon will be releasing treated sewage into Okanagan Lake.

The treated water will be released early this year into Okanagan Lake from an outlet pipe roughly seven kilometres from Kin Beach and 1.5 kilometres from shore, according to a City of Vernon media release issued today, Jan. 9. The pipe sits 60 metres below the surface of the lake.

Ordinarily, wastewater – also called effluent or sewage – is treated and is pumped to the MacKay Reservoir near Commonage Road. The water is normally used to irrigate local golf courses, ball diamonds, soccer pitches, and other agricultural lands.

However, when the MacKay Reservoir is full the water has to be diverted.

For the first time in 20 years the wastewater was pumped into Okanagan Lake in 2020. This will be the third time the City had had to pump the water into the lake.

The City of Vernon’s Water Reclamation Centre processes 13 million litres of influent every day, which is mostly domestic and commercial waste, the City said.

"The highly treated reclaimed water irrigation program has a long history in Vernon, and the City is proud of our ability to irrigate local agricultural and recreational lands while reusing this precious and irreplaceable resource," Vernon Mayor Victor Cumming said in the release. "The City is committed to continuing the spray irrigation programs for reclaimed water and is regularly looking for opportunities to expand or adjust the program to make it even better."

Over the last 10 years wastewater inflow to the reservoir has exceeded how much can be sprayed on golf courses and parks, the City said.

The wastewater has to meet Ministry of Environment standards and the City of Kelowna, the City of West Kelowna, the District of Peachland, the District of Summerland and the City of Penticton all discharge the majority of their treated reclaimed water to Okanagan Lake or adjacent water courses every day.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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