Thursday, March 10, 2011

Interior Health wants new filtration system in Vernon – CHBC News

Interior Health says the current filtration system at the Duteau Creek facility in Vernon is not effective enough. Interior Health says the current filtration system at the Duteau Creek facility in Vernon is not effective enough.

Photo Credit: Steve Beskidny, CHBC News

They have spent nearly $30 million for clean water but now some Okanagan taxpayers may have cough up another $20 million.

Interior Health says the current filtration system at the Duteau Creek facility in Vernon is not effective enough.

It wants the Greater Vernon Water Authority to build a $20 million system at the plant by 2015.

However, many politicians in the North Okanagan, including Vernon Mayor Wayne Lippert, say Interior Health is being unreasonable and is basing its decision on out-of-date data.

Lippert also believes Greater Vernon is being unfairly singled out.

He points to many municipalities that have been getting by with chlorine filtration.

If the full project goes ahead, Vernon water users can expect to have near-perfect water, but it could come at a financial cost that is hard to swallow.

Interior Health will not say whether or not they will force the Greater Vernon Water Authority to build the filtration system.

Officials say they would prefer to work with Greater Vernon towards a solution.

Let's face the facts once and for all: $20 million is not going to cover half of the cost of this project. In order to construct a filtration plant we'll have to do at least some separation of domestic and agriculture water. Failing to do that the filtration plant will have to be over sized to filter both agriculture water and domestic water at great cost.

This habit of grossly under estimating costs has been the norm since 2002. The total costs for the separation of domestic and agriculture water as well as construction of a treatment plant producing high quality water was estimated at $71.5 million (Table 1).

The 2004 Plan estimated the total costs of the projects at $35 million (Table 2). The actual costs are closer to $50 million or more and much more to come (including the separation of the Old Kamloops Road area).

I am not debating the need of improvements , although I am not convinced that the costs justify the slight improvements to water quality, but I urge the officials to quote more accurate figures when it comes to anticipated expenses.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If this requirement is being imposed on Duteau Creek water, what of Kal Lake water (north intake), and what will those costs be? I want to know who was sitting around the table (staff and politicians) when the brilliant decision to depart from the MWP was made; there are elections coming up!

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I have been a resident of Coldstream since 1976. I have had 15 years of experience on Council, 3 years as Mayor. As a current Councillor I am working to achieve fair water and sewer rates and to ensure that taxpayers get fair treatment. The current direction regarding water supply is unsustainable and I am doing all I can to get the most cost effective water supply possible.