The water delivered to 20,000 Rutland residents will be even purer next year when a new ultra-violet treatment
system comes on stream, city council will hear today.
Council is expected to approve plans for the new $6-million system proposed by the Black Mountain Irrigation District.
"We already have some of the cleanest water in Canada," BMID trustee Al Horning said Sunday. "But this system will make it that much better."
The treatment system will be built on five acres of land off Joe Rich Road that's used primarily as a cattle-grazing area.
Some preliminary site work has already been done, and the system is expected to become operational sometime in 2015.
One of the largest irrigation districts in the province, BMID serves more than 20,000 people and provides water to more than 4,000 acres of agricultural land. Its primary source is Mission Creek, carrying water down from the Greystokes
region on the plateau east of Kelowna.
The City of Kelowna's water system
already uses a UV treatment process, and the Glenmore Irrigation District put one into operation last year.
Irrigation districts across the region are being required by Interior Health to upgrade their treatment systems, at considerable cost, to meet higher standards for drinking water.
The order rankles some irrigation trustees, who say their gravity-fed, chlorine-treated systems have a long history of delivering safe, clean water.
"I don't personally resent what Interior Health is doing, because some places really do need better water," said Horning, who has served at the federal, provincial and municipal level of government.
"For us, we probably could have done without this treatment system, but we're told we have to have it, so that's what we're doing," he said.
With several years' advance notice and sound long-term budgeting practices, the cost of installing the UV system should result in only modest annual increases to the water bills of system customers, Horning said.
But a much larger cost is looming - the estimated $15 million it will take to build a new reservoir for the BMID system. "That's one project we're really hoping to get federal and provincial grants for," Horning said.