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

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
36 new cases of COVID-19, one death in Interior Health

The number of active cases in the region is at 366

Downtown Revelstoke on March 4, 2021. (Liam Harrap - Revelstoke Review)
48 COVID-19 cases in February for Revelstoke

Since the start of the pandemic roughly one out of 30 local residents have contracted the virus

Mussel inspection sit set up at B.C.-Alberta border. (Contributed)
Okanagan Basin Water Board calls for stronger invasive mussel protection

Letter sets out six recommendations for environment minister George Heyman to consider

Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison. File photo
COMMON’S CORNER: Challenging the government on vaccine availability and more

The first of a quarterly column from Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison

Email jocelyn.doll@revelstokereview.com
LETTER: Revelstoke resident urges people to stay local

‘Please come back when the pandemic is over’

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the B.C. legislature press theatre to give a daily update on the COVID-19 pandemic, April 6, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. nears 300,000 COVID-19 vaccinations, essential workers next

564 new cases, four deaths, no new outbreaks Thursday

The B.C. Supreme Court ruled Feb. 26 that the estate of deceased Sooke man and Hells Angels prospect Michael Widner is to be divided between his wife and his secret spouse. (Black Press Media file photo)
Estate of deceased Vancouver Island Hells Angels prospect to be divided between wife and secret spouse

Michael Widner’s 2017 death left a number of unanswered questions

This Dec. 2, 2020 photo provided by Johnson & Johnson shows vials of its Janssen subsidiary’s COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Johnson & Johnson via AP
Canada approves Johnson & Johnson’s 1-shot COVID-19 vaccine

It is the 4th vaccine approved in Canada and the 1st that requires just a single dose

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, dies at 82

Canada’s hockey dad had battled Parkinson’s disease and other health issues

Riverside Centre includes a theatre hosting local plays, visiting musicians and dance troupes. It is also used for community events such as public meetings and fundraisers. Photo Town of Princeton
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

COVID-19 numbers provided by Interior Health show Salmon Arm and Revelstoke in the 200-plus range from January 2020 to February 2021 while Vernon, with a larger population, tallied more than 600 over the 14 months. (BC Centre for Disease Control map)
14 months of COVID-19 data show Kamloops cases doubling Vernon’s

Jan. 1, 2020 to Feb. 28, 2021: 605 cases reported for Vernon, 243 for Salmon Arm, 1,246 for Kamloops

Penticton Fire Department pulled a kayaker from Okanagan Lake on Wednesday after he had fallen out of his boat and called 911. The man was taken to the hospital for treatment. (Western News - File)
Kayaker rescued from Okanagan Lake after falling in and calling 911

The Penticton Fire Department’s Marine Rescue pulled him out suffering from severe cold

Kelowna General Hospital (File photo)
Second death reported in Kelowna General Hospital COVID-19 outbreak

A total of seven cases have been identified at the hospital: six patients and one staff

Most Read