Liquid Waste Management

Stage 1 of the LWMP is complete and Stage 2/3 is nearing completion

Stage 1 of the LWMP is now complete and the LWMP update is in the home stretch. 2012 was a busy year completing technical analysis and gathering input from the committees and the public. The first half of 2013 is dedicated to creating the preferred direction of the plan and getting approval from Council and the Ministry of Environment. Refer to the following link for a condensed version of the final stage one report.  LWMP Stage 1 Report - 3.3 Mb PDF and the draft Stage 2/3 Report.




NEXT COMMITTEE MEETING IS March 20, 2014 anytime from 4:30 pm to 5:30 pm



  • Sign up for project updates via email or mail (email to register)
  • Attend public meetings (watch this website and local newspapers for more info)
  • Visit this website for regular project updates.


What happens in Stage 2 of the LWMP?

A liquid waste management plan is documented in the “Stage 2/3 Report”. This part of the process balances the social, economic, and environmental factors of the sanitary and storm-water systems. Part of the Stage 2/3 report is to work with the committees, city council and staff to create the preferred direction. This includes a brief list of high-priority initiatives to improve water quality in our watershed.

A very important part of the LWMP is doing more to reduce the effects on local creeks from urban runoff. Scientific analysis and Ministry feedback recommends that improving storm-water quality will have a positive impact on creek and lake water quality. Finding ways to fund the storm-water improvements can come from a more efficient spray irrigation system and new revenues for urban runoff.

Spray Irrigation and the Environmental Impact Study

In order to operate the spray irrigation program in a sustainable manner, there must be enough customers for reclaimed water. When there is more reclaimed water than available land, the City of Vernon needs options for discharging the water until new customers come forward. While the search for new customers continues, there are limits to how much water can be applied on the spray irrigation system and periodic discharge to Okanagan Lake may be required. An environmental impact study is a scientific exercise to forecast the effects to the lake by adding reclaimed water. The study includes nutrient and pathological analysis and review of water quality objectives. It also includes studying the way water circulates within the lake near the outfall. Together, water movement and nutrient analysis help can explain the anticipated environmental effects. The outcome of the EIS is the level of risk that may arise and ways to reduce the risk. It should be noted that reclaimed water from the Vernon Water Reclamation Center is very high quality and under the current plan direction most is still proposed to be used for spray irrigation. No change in the current practice of 100% planned spray irrigation will occur unless approved by Council and the Ministry of Environment through the LWMP process. The Ministry of Environment has reviewed the EIS and their comments will be incorporated in the final EIS. The EIS will help inform the City the best way to discharge reclaimed water to Okanagan Lake, if and when it is required.


City of Vernon LWMP Council Presentations

The LWMP project team has provided regular Council updates on the LWMP. Council meeting dates are listed below with links to the presentations also provided.

June 28, 2010 Council presentation - LWMP Update

On June 28, 2010 the LWMP project team provided City Council with an overview of the LWMP including details of the three stage process, schedule, key project team members and public and technical advisory committee members.

December 13, 2010 Council presentation - LWMP Update and Storm Water Management

June 27, 2011 Council presentation - Stage 1 Report and LWMP Update

February 27, 2012 Council presentation - LWMP Update

On February 27, 2012 the LWMP project team provided City Council with an update on Stage 2 progress. A key discussion point for all was the theme of managing liquid waste from a “watershed perspective”. Many of the Stage 1 issues are connected to each other. Therefore, problem solving with a “watershed perspective” ensures that the new direction for the LWMP balances investments with the most effective ways to protect our water-precious environment.

     -Back to Top-

May 14, 2012 Council presentation - LWMP Update

On May 14, 2012 the LWMP project team provided City Council with an update on Stage 2 and the draft strategic priorities. This Council update was held prior to the May 29, 2012 public meeting session hosted at the Performing Arts Center

August 13, 2012 Council presentation - Stage 2 Strategic Priorities and LWMP Update

On August 13, 2012 the LWMP project team provided City Council with an update on the LWMP including a recap of Stage 1, Stage 2 draft strategic priorities and summary of public comments from the May 29 Open House Meeting and committee meetings.

January 14, 2013 Council presentation - Stage 2 Strategic Priorities and Plan Direction

In January 2013 the LWMP project team provided City Council with an update on the strategic priorities and plan direction including preliminary results of the Environmental Impact Study.

LWMP Public Committee Meetings and Other Information

June 1, 2010 Public Committee Meeting- Values and guiding principles discussed during first public meeting

The City of Vernon hosted its first Liquid Waste Management Plan (LWMP) Update meeting June 1st in Council Chambers. Participants included members of the Technical Advisory Committee, Local Advisory Committee, project team, City of Vernon staff, and interested residents. Discussion was meaningful and productive, as participants identified and prioritized potential values and principles that could drive the development of the plan. Refer to the links below for presentation materials and other information from meeting #1.

TAC Meeting #1 Notes
Combined Committee Meeting Notes
Meeting #1 Notes
Meeting #1 Discussion Synopsis
Meeting #1 LWMP Overview Presentation
Meeting #1 Risk Communication & Interest-Based Negotiation Presentation

July 20, 2010 Public Committee Meeting #2

The City of Vernon hosted the second LiquidWaste Management Plan (LWMP) Update meeting July 20 in Council Chambers. Participants included members of the Technical Advisory Committee, Local Advisory Committee, project team, City of Vernon staff, and interested residents. Discussion was meaningful and productive, as participants reviewed the LWMP requirements, history, system components, process and other information. Refer to the link below for presentation materials from meeting #2.

Vernon LWMP TAC Meeting July 20, 2010

 -Back to Top-

March 16 2011 - Public Committee Meeting -
Review and endorse Stage 1 results leading to the complete ‘List of Ideas’

The Technical and Local Advisory Committees for the City of Vernon’s Liquid Waste Management Plan met in March 2011 to review and discuss the ideas and concerns brought forward in Stage 1. With the complete list of concerns in hand, the Committees spent the rest of the meeting keenly brainstorming ideas to address the concerns. The discussion covered a lot of ground and led to committee endorsement of the draft Stage 1 report.

November 9, 2011: Combined Committee Meeting – Science Fair Style!

The Technical and Local Advisory Committees gathered on November 9, 2011 to review the initial Stage- 2 analysis. Four booths were set up: storm-water management, spray irrigation planning, wastewater treatment capacity, and collection system expansion. Participants reviewed information, presented ideas, relayed feedback, and expressed support for the comprehensive approach to the technical studies in Stage 2. The science-fair setting was an effective way to hold group (or one-on-one) discussions regarding scientific information. Many of the conversations focused on these topics: “sustainable spray irrigation program”, “integrated storm-water management”, “water conservation”, and “cost and revenue balances”.

Winter 2011/2012: Additional Spray Irrigation Analysis

Between committee meetings and council updates, the project team spent the winter and start of 2012 re-examining the spray irrigation program. The analysis included water demands, updating the land base, reviewing costs of the spray irrigation program, and assessing costs of the various options to reuse reclaimed water (e.g. conservation, lake outfall, and expanded land base). The results were presented to the combined technical and public advisory committee for comments.

     -Back to Top-

May 29, 2012: Public Open House Session at Performing Arts Center

The LWMP project team hosted a public open house session on May 29, 2012 to review the LWMP work to date, draft strategic priorities, and plan direction. Click on the following link to view the presentation boards from the public open house.

Why update the Vernon LWMP?

The City of Vernon is located in the hub of a unique corner of the Okanagan Basin, with a significant hydrologic system that includes four lakes (Okanagan, Kalamalka, Swan and Goose), three creeks (Vernon, Coldstream and BX),the Duteau Watershed and various streams, ponds and wetlands.

To help protect this invaluable resource, the City of Vernon developed its first Liquid Waste Management Plan in 1999. The plan is being updated to reflect current social, environmental and economic interests and objectives.

Elected officials and City staff are keen to improve stormwater management and wastewater collection, pre-treatment, treatment, reuse, storage, effluent disposal and biosolids, recognizing that an updated plan and the resulting policies, practices and projects will improve the quality of area streams, lakes and agricultural lands now and into the future.

What specific issues will be addressed by the LWMP Update?

A long-term Ministry of Environment goal is to prevent all pollution from wastewater sources. To that end, the province works with local governments to help them adopt proactive pollution-prevention principles and practices, best available pollution-control technologies, and polluter-pay policies and fees.

Since its first LWMP was developed a decade ago, the City of Vernon has focused on the 5Rs of wastewater management: reduction, reuse, recycling, recovery, and research. It's expected that the current LWMP process will further help the City and other key stakeholders:

  • explore water and wastewater management challenges and options through a watershed lens
  • investigate options for minimizing wastewater contamination
  • maximize collection system capacities
  • identify and leverage opportunities for expanded reuse of wastewater effluent and municipal sewage sludge
  • optimize stormwater management practices and programs.

Participants will use best practices and information about innovative pollution-prevention technologies and polluter-pay principles to drive the complex option evaluation process.

     -Back to Top-

Why should you participate in the update of the plan?

A LWMP is most effective if area residents are involved in its development and implementation. In this case, a citizen-driven process will not only ensure a plan reflects residents' wants and needs, but will contribute to the long-term social, environmental, and economic health of the region.

By establishing advisory committees involving representatives from various geographic areas, interest groups, and senior government agencies, the City of Vernon confirms that stakeholder involvement - and, ultimately, public input and support - is critical to the success of its plan. These committees - the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) and the Local Advisory Committee (LAC) - will oversee plan development, review the resulting recommendations, and ensure comprehensive public participation throughout the process.

The City of Vernon will keep you abreast of the LWMP Update process via its website, newspaper articles and ads, and newsletters. It will also provide a variety of opportunities for input at public meetings and open houses, and through surveys.

How will the LWMP Update process unfold?

In Stage 1 of the three-part LWMP process, advisory committee members, City staff, and the public identify current wastewater challenges and explore potential solutions relating to the aforementioned watercourses and surrounding lands. To that end, project consultant Urban Systems Ltd. has:

  • conducted a land use and community growth overview
  • assessed the City's effluent disposal program
  • reviewed current operations at the Vernon Water Reclamation Centre
  • reviewed biosolids management practices
  • Assessed storm-water management practices.

The resulting findings drive committee discussion regarding potential wastewater treatment options and preliminary order-of-magnitude costing. Public input is encouraged via the City's website and a newsletter and survey. The research findings, committee discussions and public feedback guide development of the Stage 1 Report, which, after being adopted by City council and approved by BC's Ministry of Environment (MoE), ushers in the second phase of the LWMP.

During Stage 2, participants identify and further examine wastewater management options considered effective, affordable and environmentally beneficial by advisory committee members. Again, public input is encouraged via the City's website, a newsletter and an open house. The resulting Stage 2 Report - which outlines the selected option(s), along with estimated life-cycle costs - will then be adopted by council and approved by MoE.

Stage 3, and the subsequent final report, will present the selected option(s), discharge standards and implementation and funding strategies and schedules. When adopted by council and approved by MoE, the final report will be considered Vernon's new LWMP.

     -Back to Top-

What is a Liquid Waste Management Plan?

A Liquid Waste Management Plan (LWMP) charts a community's future course of action for managing stormwater, collecting, and treating sewage and other wastewaters, and for disposing of or reusing wastewater effluent. To help a community meet its wastewater objectives, a LWMP can also recommend lot sizes, zoning constraints in unsewered areas, water conservation programs, and public education programs for improving septic system performance.

BC's Environmental Management Act allows regional districts and municipalities to develop LWMPs for approval by the Minister of Environment. Used as a tool to develop effective and affordable solutions to local liquid waste challenges, a LWMP enables a community to:

  • protect human and environmental health
  • develop strategies to minimize wastewater generation
  • meet water conservation goals
  • prohibit discharge of effluent to lakes from private sources
  • maximize use of reclaimed water
  • provide access to available senior government funding.

It also helps a community protect its financial investment in wastewater infrastructure by creating proactive solutions rather than reacting to problems as they arise. The planning horizon can be 20-40 years.

The provincial Ministries of Environment and Health encourage LWMPs, particularly for rural areas that utilize onsite wastewater treatment and disposal systems such as septic tanks. Regional or municipal governments are requested to engage in a three-phase process that:

  • investigates existing conditions and identifies problem areas
  • identifies and researches potential improvements
  • provides detailed technical and costing information for the most socially, environmentally, and economically acceptable wastewater management solutions.

Public participation is essential for the development of an effective LWMP, especially considering that any resulting recommendations will be funded by residents living within the plan area. In Vernon's case, recruited residents/stakeholders sit on either a Technical Advisory Committee or a Local Advisory Committee, while the public at large is encouraged to attend open meetings and open houses, and to provide input via surveys.

     -Back to Top-

How is Vernon wastewater managed now?

The City of Vernon's Operation Services Division is responsible for the treatment and beneficial reuse of all residential, commercial and industrial sewage generated in Vernon, parts of Coldstream, Okanagan Landing and Blue Jay Subdivision. About 95 percent of properties are sewered; the rest rely on septic tanks for wastewater treatment.

Wastewater is directed to the Vernon Water Reclamation Centre (VWRC), which was updated in 2006 and currently treats about 13 million litres daily from 50,000 people in Vernon and part of Coldstream. Wastewater undergoes primary, secondary and tertiary treatment. Solids from primary treatment are fermented and digested, while secondary solids are thickened. Blended primary and secondary solids are then dewatered and composted. The final product is rich in nutrients and sold commercially as OGO-GROW(TM) . .

Reclaimed water - the end product of wastewater treatment - is pumped seven kilometres to the MacKay Reservoir on Commonage Road. From late April to early October, reclaimed water is drawn from the reservoir, chlorinated then used to irrigate about 970 hectares in the Commonage area south of Vernon, including Predator Ridge Golf Resort, Vernon Golf & Country Club, Vernon Seed Orchard, Kalamalka Forestry Centre and Pacific Regeneration's Vernon Nursery. The Spray Irrigation Program also includes large tracts of agricultural land used for grazing and hay production.

Advisory Committees & Members

As part of its Liquid Waste Management Plan (LWMP) Update, the City of Vernon establishing two advisory bodies to help guide the development of the plan.


The Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) work with project consultant Urban Systems and City of Vernon staff to pinpoint existing wastewater management challenges and to identify and evaluate potential treatment options. The TAC will meet separately and with the LAC several times throughout the process.

     -Back to Top-


Agricultural Land Commission
City of Kelowna
City of Vernon
District of Coldstream
Environment Canada
Fisheries & Oceans Canada
Interior Health
Ministry of Agriculture and Lands
Ministry of Community & Rural Development
Ministry of Environment
Ministry of Forests and Range
Okanagan Indian Band
Regional District of North Okanagan


The Local Advisory Committee (LAC) - with diverse representation from all sectors - reviews and provides feedback on wastewater management challenges and options presented by the TAC, contributes to the development of the overall plan, and ensures that proposed policies, practices, programs, and projects are in the best interests of all Vernon residents. Another LAC responsibility is to ensure healthy public participation throughout the three-part process.


Allan Brooks Nature Centre
Chamber of Commerce
City of Vernon (staff and one councillor)
City of Vernon Environmental Advisory Committee
Coldstream Ranch
Department of National Defence
Greater Vernon Parks & Recreation
North Okanagan Naturalists Club
Okanagan Basin Water Board
Okanagan Spring Brewery
Okanagan Tree Fruit Cooperative
Predator Ridge
School District 22
Urban Development Institute
Vernon Fish & Game Club

For more information, contact:
Joanne de Vries at 250-766-1777 or

     -Back to Top-

RDNO Greater Vernon Water Coldstream City of Vernon, BC City of Vernon, BC