Lake release of Vernon wastewater expected by end of February

Wastewater release soon

Treated Vernon wastewater could be released into Okanagan Lake as soon as the end of February.

A report to city council states the McKay Reservoir is reaching its maximum operating level.

On Jan. 9, the City of Vernon announced it would have to release the wastewater in "early 2023", but did not give any dates.

Wastewater is normally directed from the Vernon Water Reclamation Centre to the MacKay Reservoir on the Commonage and is used for irrigation.

The city says the reservoir has had more water coming into it than it could use in its summer spray irrigation program.

"Administration has provided all required notifications and is following all regulatory requirements," the latest report to council states.

"A qualified professional has provided estimated release dates based on historical intake volumes and the current operating level of the reservoir. The estimated start date of the release is the end of February and will continue until the end of May."

Over the last 10 years, the city has had to release treated reclaimed water into the lake two other times – in 2020 and 2021.

The wastewater would be piped 60 metres deep into Okanagan Lake via the city's deep lake outfall, seven kilometres southwest of Kin Beach.

The city intends to use the 2023 summer irrigation program to draw the reservoir down to a more manageable level.

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