News

Effluent discharge proposal draws fire

An environmental group is challenging the possibility of treated effluent being pumped into Okanagan Lake.

The City of Vernon is considering lake discharges of reclaimed water that exceeds the need for irrigating fields and parks.

“Treated or not, no effluent should be discharged directly into any lake,” said Brad Foster, with Sierra Club Okanagan.

“Even the treated effluent from sewage plants can contain pollutants such as trace-harmful chemicals and excess nutrients that can stimulate bacteria and algae growth that can adversely affect aquatic life as well as water quality.”

An outfall pipe in Okanagan Lake was constructed in the late 1980s.

There has only been one discharge ever, in 1996. That was a result of a wet summer preventing irrigation and the reservoir level had to be reduced.

Some officials have suggested discharging into the lake would reduce the power costs of pumping effluent up the hill to the spray irrigation reservoir in the Commonage. But Foster says options are required.

“A solar energy system should be installed,” he said.

The concept of lake discharges has surfaced as part of the city’s liquid waste management plan review.

“This isn’t to say this is where we’re going,” said Coun. Juliette Cunningham, adding that the review process will include public consultation.

“When you’re looking at a long-range plan, you need to look at everything. There may be some years when we can’t irrigate like we do (because of weather).”

Cunningham also questions why some groups are so focused on Vernon.

“Why is our highly treated water any different than that being discharged into the lake by Kelowna and other communities?” said Cunningham.

 

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

You might like ...

Sounds of the Season
 
Kettle campaign requires boost
 
Skiers hit the slopes at the Star
Sporting best of 2014...
 
Kelowna Flightcraft lifts Okanagan College campaign
 
NDP blasts lottery corporation spending
Kane leads Blackhawks past Maple Leafs 4-0
 
RCMP address Safeway bomb threat
 
City to resume talks with CUPE

Community Events, December 2014

Add an Event


Read the latest eEdition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Dec 21 edition online now. Browse the archives.