Local health authorities have described our Water Utility’s Source-to-Tap program as one of the best in BC. The programs goal is to identify hazards and weaknesses that can affect the safety and quality of our drinking water supply. The framework of the Source-to-Tap program is the multibarrier approach.
“The multibarrier approach is an integrated system of procedures, processes, and tools that collectively prevent or reduce the contamination of drinking water from source-to-tap in order to reduce risks to public health (CCME, 2004).”
We have four drinking water intakes located in Okanagan Lake. These intakes provide clean, safe drinking water to over 70,000 people. To help protect our intakes we have a source protection program meant to be a proactive approach at preserving our great water quality from Okanagan Lake.
Our water system uses two types of treatment; UV dosing and chlorination disinfection at each intake before entering the distribution system.
Water Main Flushing
Regular flushing is an important component of a comprehensive water management program. We flush 310 kms of water main annually to prevent bacterial re-growth and stagnation in low circulation areas of the distribution system. Flushing is generally done between March and October.
Our Water Utility uses “uni-directional” flushing. This means the valves in the pipe network are closed in sequence, drawing water from previously flushed pipes through the pipe that is to be cleaned. This ensures that all pipes are refreshed and that minor sediment within the pipes are removed.
Additionally all storage reservoirs are also drained, scrubbed and disinfected annually.
Capital Works Projects
- Every year capital projects are completed to upgrade and improve existing infrastructure.
Our drinking water quality is monitored 24 hours a day through our SCADA system. Every month more than 1,000 individual water quality tests are completed on our water system.
Our technicians who are responsible for water quality sampling and analysis have all completed a two-year Water Quality Certificate Program. All our water system Operators have completed Level 1 Water Treatment and Level 2 Water Distribution certificates through the Environmental Operators Certificate Program (EOCP).
In the event of an emergency related to our drinking water quality and/or water utility infrastructure, we have a Water Utility Emergency Preparedness & Response Plan (WUEPR) in place. The WUEPR has set out policies and procedures to prepare and manage for any emergency events that arise. To support the WUEPR there is a Public Notification Protocol that provides formal procedures in notifying the public of any emergencies, additionally there is a Turbidity Reponse Plan which is part of the Water Quality Sampling Protocol for operators to refer to when turbidity levels are outside regular thresholds.