Public wades into liquid waste plan

The future of how Gallagher Lake and the Vaseux Lake area will manage their liquid waste will be unveiled at an open house on Tuesday in Oliver.

The future of how Gallagher Lake and the Vaseux Lake area will manage their liquid waste will be unveiled at an open house on Tuesday in Oliver.

The area liquid waste management plan project is almost complete but the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen requires public feedback before the final stages can begin.

A wastewater advisory committee discussed several options over the past year for each area. It was found the preferred option for Gallagher Lake was to connect to the Osoyoos Indian Band sewer system and send all the generated wastewater to their new treatment plant. For Vaseux Lake the preferred option is to provide septic tank education and maintenance to the residents, along with development and implementation of a lake monitoring program. No immediate hookup to a sewer system is planned for Gallagher Lake.

These options will be presented to the public at the open house along with details about the other options not selected by the committee.

“The potential is there for aging an failing wastewater systems to negatively affect the water quality in both Gallagher Lake and Vaseux Lake and it is best to deal with it now to get septic water out of that area essentially or treated properly,” said Doug French, manager of public works for the RDOS.

In these areas, the residences use on-site treatment and disposal, otherwise known as a septic tank with a tile field. In the ideal conditions, with appropriate soils, septic tank systems can treat wastewater, removing nutrients efficiently with minimal effect of lakes and rivers. According to the consultants, many areas included within Gallagher and Vaseux Lake have shallow soil that is course with little capability to treat wastewater, remove nutrients and pathogens such as bacteria and viruses.

After the public consultation, the report will be finalized and presented to the RDOS board. French said the liquid waste management plan would probably be at the board for consideration in early October then will be handed over to the ministry.

The open house on Sept. 13 will take place from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Oliver Community Centre, Room 1 and 2. Presentations will be given at 5, 6 and 7 p.m.