Rising water levels in Okanagan Lake are having an impact on the Westside regional wastewater treatment plant.
The Central Okanagan Regional District says it is pumping more effluent than normal into Okanagan Lake—after the effluent is treated—because the plant needs to deal with reduced outflow capacity due to higher water levels in Okanagan Lake.
CORD spokesman Bruce Smith said there are no health risks associated with the pumping bypass being used to discharge the treated effluent and stressed the effluent has gone through the complete treatment process at the plant prior to discharge into the lake.
Smith said the plant, located at the south end of Gellatly Bay in West Kelowna, inland from the lake, treats approximately 10 million litres of wastewater every day from West Kelowna, Peachland and the Westbank First Nation No. 9 and No. 10 reserves.
The plant has seen an increase in its flows during the recent flooding and as a result of last week’s heavy rainfall.
The regional district has installed, and is operating, an additional pump to boost discharge capacity of the plant’s treated effluent. The additional pump is required because higher than normal lake water levels have caused a decreased flow of treated effluent from the plant’s outfall into the lake, said Smith.
Both the Ministry of Environment and Interior Health were consulted about the addition of a supplemental pump from the treatment plant, he added.