Water Reclamation & Spray Irrigation
The Operation Services Division of the City of Vernon is responsible for the treatment and beneficial reuse of all residential, commercial and industrial wastewater generated in the Greater Vernon area (Vernon, parts of Coldstream, Okanagan Landing, and Blue Jay Subdivision).
Wastewater is treated at the Vernon Water Reclamation Centre (VWRC). The centre is located at 2100 43rd Street and has been in operation at this location since the 1930s. Over the years, the VWRC has been expanded and upgraded a number of times and currently serves a population of 36,000 in Greater Vernon. Average daily flow at the VWRC is approximately 13,000 m3 (13,000,000 litres, 2.86 million Imperial Gallons, 3.43 million US Gallons).
Wastewater undergoes primary, secondary and tertiary treatment at the VWRC. Treatment works include fine screening, grit removal, primary clarification, biological nutrient removal, secondary clarification, and during irrigation season (May-Oct), filtration and ultraviolet disinfection.
Primary and secondary solids are dewatered and composted. The final product is rich in nutrients and sold commercially.
Reclaimed water is the end product from a municipal wastewater treatment facility that is suitable for reuse as determined by the British Columbia Ministry of Environment.
Following tertiary treatment at the VWRC, all reclaimed water is pumped 7km to the MacKay Reservoir on Commonage Road. From late April to early October, reclaimed water is drawn out of MacKay Reservoir, chlorinated and used as irrigation water on approximately 970 Ha (2400 acres) of land in the Commonage area south of Vernon.
This is referred to as the "Spray Irrigation" program. Areas irrigated with reclaimed water include Predator Ridge Golf Resort, Vernon Golf & Country Club, The Rise Golf Course, Vernon Seed Orchard, Kalamalka Forestry Centre and Pacific Regeneration's Vernon Nursery as well as large areas of agricultural land used for grazing and hay production. In addition, public areas, such as Marshal fields benefit from reclaimed water use.
Is Reclaimed Water Safe?
Reclaimed water from MacKay Reservoir is of high quality. The Ministry of Environment allows reclaimed water from MacKay Reservoir to be used in areas with unrestricted public access, such as golf courses and playing fields, however, reclaimed water is not intended to be directly consumed by people.