Wastewater treatment facility opens

Okanagan Falls celebrated its new wastewater treatment plant Wednesday, with speeches from dignitaries and tours of the facility on Rail Road.

"This has been a very community oriented project, and the public is invited in today," said Regional District Okanagan Similkameen engineer Liisa Bloomfield, as she led a tour. "This is a really exciting plant with a lot of really neat things here."

The state-of-the art facility replaces the existing facility, located adjacent to a residential area in Okanagan Falls.

The old treatment plant was not able to keep up with the treatment needs and  could not meet the ever increasing environmental standards.

One of the  biggest issues was the smell with the  solids drying beds being odorous for the community.

In February 2010, pre-design for the new facility commenced, upon retention of the engineering firm AECOM.

The pre-design was presented to the public at an open house in September 2010 and opinions were received.

Taking into consideration the response from the public, the design was finalized in July 2011.

The project was subsequently awarded to Greyback Construction Ltd..

Funding for the $11.7 million facility came from different sources. The project received $6.2 million in federal provincial funding through the Canada British Columbia Building Canada Fund, Communities Component in 2010. The remaining contribution came from the RDOS.

Components of the facility include a headworks room where the  wastewater first enters the plant, a primary clarifier/fermenter, bioreactor, filters, ultraviolet disinfection and biofilter.

The treated effluent is used during the process for water maintenance functions and landscape irrigation. The heating and cooling system uses the treated effluent in various ways to provide up to 95 percent of the heating/cooling requirements for the building.

Treated effluent is also used in the toilets and many other places around the plant.

"This is a great step forward for the Okanagan Falls community," said RDOS Area D Director Tom Siddon. "The  current sewage system is almost 40 years old and the age of the technology was beginning to show."

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