A consulting firm aiding the City in Vernon as it flows treated wastewater into Okanagan Lake will cost an estimated $55,000, but the savings from the elimination of pumping costs to the reservoir should cover it.
The city announced the MacKay Reservoir is reaching maximum capacity late last month. City staff said wetter and cooler summers, increased cloud cover, smoke from wildfires and atypical rain fail are behind the increased reservoir levels.
To allow time for water levels to drop, the city said it would no longer pump reclaimed water 10 kilometres to the reservoir, but instead dump it into Okanagan Lake through a deep lake outfall nearly seven kilometres from the shores of Kin Beach.
Urban Systems, a consulting firm, has assisted the city with several technical aspects of the process, such as reviewing data and modelling and consulting with the Ministry of Environment. It also monitored water quality before and after discharge.
On Jan. 20, Mayor Victor Cumming said using a deep lake outfall is not an unusual practice for municipalities in the Okanagan — the biggest of which is the City of Kelowna.
West Kelowna, the districts of Peachland and Summerland and the City of Penticton also discharge the majority of its treated reclaimed water into Okanagan Lake, or adjacent water courses, each day.
The expected cost savings from nixing the pumping costs is estimated at $150,000 throughout the lake discharge.
The city is working with the Ministry of Environment to determine when the discharge into Okanagan Lake will end.
The treated water being redirected into Okanagan Lake will have no impacts on the environment or lake users, VWRC manager Serge Kozin said in January.