Project a long time coming

Work begins on wastewater treatment plant for Okanagan Falls

RDOS Area D director Bill Schwarz shakes hands with Okanagan Coquihalla MP Dan Albas

RDOS Area D director Bill Schwarz shakes hands with Okanagan Coquihalla MP Dan Albas

It was a long six years for Bill Schwarz, but on Wednesday he finally gripped the gold-plated shovel to pose for a photo breaking ground for the new wastewater treatment plant for Okanagan Falls.

“In fact, it is quite possible he would not be retiring had this grant money not come through,” quipped Dan Albas, MP for Okanagan Coquihalla.

“When you look around Okanagan Falls and you see the waterfront, the Okanagan river system, it is easy to see why it is so important to expand wastewater treatment in order to protect our environment.”

Schwarz, who decided not to run this municipal election, fought for six years to get the wastewater treatment plant. Through federal and provincial funding partnerships, Area D received $6.2 million through the Building Canada Fund, with the remaining money coming from the RDOS and the Okanagan Basin Water Board.

“I have learned more about how you process the stuff, more than you would ever want to know,” joked Schwarz. “But, seriously, today is a very important day to the community and South Skaha. It’s important for those residents living near the existing sewer plant. When they bought in there they were told that plant was going to move and that was 12 to 14 years ago. It is coming to fruition and it will be out of there.”

The $11.5 million project is expected to be completed in November 2012.

The plant will ensure proper wastewater disposal for not only Okanagan Falls, but the entire South Skaha region as the collection system expands. Schwarz said the new plant will also lift restrictions for growth in the area. In 2003, Schwarz said he received a study from the public works department revealing some disastrous details.

“In the summer months the sewer was operating beyond capacity. There were times when we were sending untreated sewage into the RI basin, it just couldn’t handle what was coming through. It scared the heck out of me. The stuff is going down into the ground, and in the ground is an aquifer that gets the water I drink and that concerns me,” said Schwarz, adding immediately he found a short-term solution using a special filter at the old plant. “Now that this is going ahead development can also go through.”

Residents in Kaleden will now be able to get off septic systems and eliminate the one-hectare policy that hindered development for many.

When the system was built 35 years ago, Schwarz said there was no development cost charges — a  major oversight by the politicians of the time because no money was put aside for upgrades.

“We will never have to go with our hat in hand on the street corner to the provincial and federal governments to upgrade this system, because as more users come on  they will be paying development cost charges. Those are sufficient to expand the system as needed,” said Schwarz.

The $11.5 million project is underway at 300 Rail Rd. to replace the existing facility located adjacent to a residential area. The waste water will be treated with conventional biological nutrient removal technology, making it available for local irrigation and discharge into the Vaseux Lake wetlands. The long-term goal is to divert the discharge to the neighbouring Vaseux wetland area and to enhance its natural environment.


Just Posted

New trial date set in Penticton for Thomas Kruger-Allen’s triple assault charges

May trial was delayed after Crown witnesses failed to show up

A for sale sign is shown in by new homes in Beckwith, Ont., just outside Ottawa, on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Thompson-Okanagan population grew despite COVID-19: report

The Chartered Professional Accountants of BC said there are 8,462 new residents in the region

Scales of Justice
Acquittal in Okanagan crash that killed vacationing dentist

Daerio Romeo, 29, was charged with dangerous driving causing death and bodily harm

Renderings of what the skating rink could look like beside City Hall between Martin and Main in downtown Penticton. (Activate Penticton image)
Penticton to get outdoor ice rink this winter

It’s hoped the rink will be ready to host 2022 BCHL’s 60th year celebration

The fate of Skaha Marina and its operations will be decided Saturday, June 19 on general election day. (File photo)
Penticton city hosted last forum before voters decide on fate of Skaha Marina

Residents share concerns about length of operations agreement, parking and control of park

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

Orange ribbons are tied to the fence outside Vernon’s Gateway Homeless Shelter on 33rd Street. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
POLL: Low-key Canada Day in the works for Vernon

Councillor calling for Indigenous recognition for 2022

A conceptual design of Vernon’s new Active Living Centre, which will go to referendum Oct. 15, 2022. (Rendering)
Active living centre 2022 referendum planned in Vernon

City hoping to get Coldstream and Areas B and C back on board

Closure of the 2900 block of 30th Avenue will allow restaurants and other businesses to extend their patios onto the street. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Green light given to downtown Vernon road closure

Single block of 30th Avenue to close over summer months to boost business

Graduating Grade 12 student Savannah Lamb has been awarded an approximate $40,000 scholarship from the Beedie Luminaries foundation. (Contributed)
Dedicated Salmon Arm student earns scholarship to pursue post-secondary education

Savannah Lamb is graduating from Salmon Arm Secondary with a $40,000 scholarship

A provided photo of the suspect. (Kelowna RCMP/Contributed)
Kelowna RCMP investigating after business robbed

An undisclosed amount of money and merchandise were taken from the business

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Grace (left), a caribou that was born in a maternal pen north of Revelstoke, is alive and well said the province. It appears she even has a calf. Maternity pens aim to increase caribou calf survival by protecting them from predation until they are older and less vulnerable. (Contributed)
For the first time in years, caribou numbers increasing near Revelstoke

North herd growing but south herd still concerning

Most Read