Water could become very expensive for some residents on the west side of Okanagan Lake | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Water could become very expensive for some residents on the west side of Okanagan Lake

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December 18, 2018 - 12:17 PM

WEST KELOWNA - A few hundred residents on the west side of Okanagan Lake could be facing bills of up to $13,500 for their drinking water.

That’s the price tag for water treatment that may be needed for the Westshore and Killiney Beach water systems if Interior Health insists that filtration systems have to be installed.

These are small water systems with 260 to 280 homes connected and the estimated $3.5 million cost to install filtration plants for each system is likely to be much higher since that number is about four years old.

“You can look at that $3.5 million as a placeholder,” Dave Komaike, the regional district’s Engineering Director, told the regional board last week in response to questions by Wayne Carson, the board member who represents residents served by those water districts.

“It’s a significant amount of money,” Komaike said. “We want to look at it and consider all the alternatives. The first one is to try to look for deferral.”

He recently met with Interior Health and is waiting for a letter on whether the upgrades are needed or can be put off.

A water quality update posted on the Regional District of the Central Okanagan’s website lists six water quality objectives. Both systems are OK for three of those: eliminating viruses, coliform, and E. coli and turbidity.

Westshore and some of the Killiney Beach system do a good job eliminating giardia but Killiney Beach is not doing so well for customers living below Westside Road.

Both systems are listed as not meeting the standard for “Inactivation of Cryptosporidium” and for not having a “two treatment process.”

The report also says that major improvements are needed to the pipes and reservoirs.

The water is chlorinated and tested for bacteria every week. Tests have not found giardia or cryptosporidium parasites in either water system.

Kelowna had a major cryptosporidium outbreak in 1996 that made thousands of residents ill.

Carson asked whether the regional district had considered drilling wells rather than taking water out of Okanagan Lake since the filtration standards are lower for well water. Kamachie said tests had been done but engineers weren’t able to find a source with enough water to supply each of the systems. If necessary, a more thorough search could be made to try to find enough well water.

Killiney Beach is about six kilometres north Fintry Provincial Park. It has 280 properties connected to its water system so, at $3.5 million, that would cost $12,500 per property.

Westshore is about 10 km north of Fintry and has 260 connections, so that would cost almost $13,500 per property.

Komaike said he expects to have a full report back to the board within six months.

— This story was corrected Dec. 20, 2018 at 9:45 a.m. to change the cost per property to $12,500 and $13,500.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 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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