Shuswap resident and engineer Tony Guerra talks over the city’s wastewater treatment plant with city engineer Jenn Wilson at a city open house into treatment plant options for expansion on Feb. 13, 2020. City council and staff agreed on Feb. 8, 2021 to expand the existing site. (File photo)

Shuswap resident and engineer Tony Guerra talks over the city’s wastewater treatment plant with city engineer Jenn Wilson at a city open house into treatment plant options for expansion on Feb. 13, 2020. City council and staff agreed on Feb. 8, 2021 to expand the existing site. (File photo)

Salmon Arm’s sewage treatment plant to remain by Shuswap Lake

Odour, discharge into lake main concerns of those opposed to existing location

Salmon Arm’s sewage treatment plant will be staying where it is.

Regarding a needed expansion due to population growth, council voted unanimously Feb. 8 to support staff’s recommendation to go with the existing site at 121 Narcisse St. NW, next to Churches Thrift Shop.

Cost was the main factor for those who favoured the current site, said Rob Niewenhuizen, the city’s director of engineering and public works. He was referring to a two-year process that included citizen feedback.

Of the four locations shortlisted, expansion of the current site was the least expensive at an estimated $50 million. Minion Field was next at $101 million, while the north industrial park and the light industrial park options were each estimated in the $115 million range.

Niewenhuizen said the city will need to borrow most of the funds. He said borrowing the amount for one of the other shortlisted sites would likely be beyond the city’s capability, so grants would be needed.

Those residents opposed to the existing site were mainly concerned about odour and environmental effects – primarily the discharge of sewage into the lake.

Niewenhuizen said odour can be reduced with stringent new measures included in the cost estimate.

As for discharge of treated effluent into Shuswap Lake, Niewenhuizen said because there is a provincial moratorium on outfalls into the lake, “the outfall remains where it is for all options…”

Read more: Salmon Arm to study potential sites for expanding sewage treatment plant

Read more: Sniffing out options for expansion of Salmon Arm’s sewage treatment plant

Read more: Options for Salmon Arm’s sewage treatment plant narrow to four

Coun. Debbie Cannon asked if the province imposed the moratorium because it wants to move away from putting effluent into lakes. Niewenhuizen said the reason is the province doesn’t want any more large developments around the lake that would discharge sewage into it. He noted that outfalls in Sicamous, Vernon, Penticton and Kelowna are in the same proverbial boat.

Cannon said she still thinks the city needs to look at not putting effluent in the lake.

Coun. Sylvia Lindgren asked if the province is limiting outflows in the lake, will it at some point ask for their removal?

Niewenhuizen said pretty well all major cities discharge into a water body. He said Salmon Arm’s is where it is because it’s the safest location in terms of water intakes.

Coun. Kevin Flynn said it’s important to know that what is being discharged is close to drinking water. He said it’s not drinking water and he won’t drink it, but the discharge, based on all the tests run on it, didn’t have anything to do with the past summer’s algal bloom.

“I think we’re doing a disservice to our treatment plant and our staff and everybody else if we don’t make sure people are aware of that.”

He also said if the provincial or federal government decided municipalities can’t discharge into water bodies, there would need to be some major grants available for the close to 100 per cent that would need to change.

In 2019, Niewenhuizen told council the plant, without an expansion, had an estimated two to five years of service left, based on population.


marthawickett@saobserver.net
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Salmon ArmShuswap Lake

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 80+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

Esa Carriere was stabbed to death during Canada Day celebrations in downtown Kelowna in 2018. (Contributed)
Emotional testimony from accused Kelowna Canada Day killer’s friend in manslaughter trial

‘I confronted him, and he admitted to me that he stabbed someone,’ says accused killer’s former housemate

Basketball hoop (Pixabay.com)
Peachland to only allow West Kelowna sports teams at local facilities

The decision is to help keep the community safe during the pandemic

Photo courtesy RCMP
Visitors at the farm in 2019. (Arion Therapeutic Farm - Facebook)
Kelowna therapy farm finds new home

Arion Therapeutic Farm will be moving in late spring

Langley resident Carrie MacKay shared a video showing how stairs are a challenge after spending weeks in hospital battling COVID-19 (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Stairs a challenge for B.C. woman who chronicled COVID-19 battle

‘I can now walk for six (to) 10 minutes a day’

Churches, including Langley’s Riverside Calvary Church, are challenging the regulations barring them from holding in-person worship services during COVID-19. (Langley Advance Times file)
Gas prices jumped in Golden to 131.9c this week, a trend that's supposed to continue into the summer. (Claire Palmer/Golden Star)
Columbia River-Revelstoke MLA Clovechok concerned as gas prices continue to rise

Fuel prices are supposed to skyrocket this summer as British Columbians await BCUC analysis

Vernon-Monashee NDP MLA Harwinder Sandhu. (Contributed)
North Okanagan MLA examining role of police

Harwinder Sandhu a member of special committee on reforming the police act

Okanagan Falls fire department put on an ice rescue course at Yellow Lake this weekend.
South Okanagan firefighters submerged in the icy waters of Yellow Lake

The local firefighters were taking ice rescue training at the Penticton lake this weekend

Salmon Arm RCMP officers seized a handgun and a quantity of cocaine during a search of a vehicle on Thursday, Feb. 11. (File photo)
Salmon Arm RCMP seize handgun, cocaine in vehicle search

Two Surrey residents released from custody, investigation continues

Lumby’s WTF What the Fry was broken into Friday, Feb. 26, 2021, and the till was stolen around 9:30 a.m. (Facebook)
Cash box stolen from Lumby poutinerie

WTF broken into in broad daylight seven weeks after grand opening

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The Columbia Shuswap Regional District has received a grant for the completion of housing reports for Electoral Areas B, D, and F. (Gerry Leibel photo)
Grant allows Columbia Shuswap Regional District to finish housing reports

Study toidentify issues such as affordability and accessibility specific to Areas B, D and F

Most Read