Wastewater & sewer
To meet the demands of a growing population, the cities of Kelowna and Vernon are evaluating options for the economically, socially and environmentally responsible long-term management of wastewater solids. We are seeking public input, which will be included in a summary report for Kelowna and Vernon City Councils. Councils will use your input as well as technical and market reviews to determine next steps in the planning process. Click here to learn more about the public engagement, or go directly to the survey.
Currently, the region’s treated wastewater solids are mixed with wood chips and composted at the Regional Biosolids Compost Facility to produce a valued organic soil amendment called OgoGrow. Popular with Okanagan gardeners, landscaping companies and construction contractors, OgoGrow generates important revenue for the cities and helps keep treated solid waste out of local landfills.
Space limitations at the compost facility, the availability of an affordable supply of wood chips, and the region’s increased production of wastewater solids have created a need for the cities to research and evaluate a more diversified and sustainable approach, including examining new processing methods, new beneficial use options and potential new markets.
Kelowna’s sewer system collects, conveys, treats and disposes of domestic wastewater (derived from the home) and industrial wastewater (resulting from business use, manufacturing and processing). Wastewater is conveyed to Kelowna’s Wastewater Treatment Facility (WWTF) located on Raymer Avenue.
Our wastewater system currently services approximately 80 per cent of Kelowna’s population and is being expanded to reach presently unserviced areas and to accommodate growth. However, not all waste can be treated by this system. Automotive and Dental waste may contain hazardous materials that should be disposed of by a qualified collection agency. Restaurant wastes may contain grease and food scraps which cause sewer blockages if they are washed down the drain.
See the wastewater Source Control page for information pertaining to liquid waste disposal regulations, hazardous waste disposal, and waste discharge permits.
Please note, the Wastewater Treatment Facility does not provide a sanitary disposal facility for recreational vehicles.
In 2011, the City completed its largest infrastructure project to date, the expansion of the Wastewater Treatment Facility. With this project, the facility has been able to increase its capacity to treat water from 40 to 70 million litres a day. This will accommodate the City’s sewer servicing needs beyond 2030.
As part of the expansion, new equipment was installed that increase the facility’s energy efficiency and reduce the use of potable water. Innovative technologies include UV disinfection of the effluent which is used to inactivate bacteria with no residual effect and a state-of-the-art odour control system which will benefit the environment and surrounding area. The expanded Wastewater Treatment Facility uses the latest technology for the biological treatment of sewage. The newly constructed Maintenance Building was built to LEED Gold Standards and includes innovative technologies to reduce energy and GHG emissions, conserve water and create a healthy work environment. Materials used in the construction of the new building were made locally with recycled content where possible, and 75 per cent of waste was diverted from the landfill.
The Bardenpho Wastewater Treatment Facility replaced the original Wastewater Treatment Plant that was built in the early 1900's. The Bardenpho upgrade was completed in the spring of 1982. The facility was the first of its kind built in North America to accommodate the Bardenpho Process for biological nutrient removal. The chemical-free process is effective, cost efficient and environmentally sound.
How it works
More than 480Km of sewer mains collect and convey sewage to more than 30 pump stations, which pump the sewage to the Treatment Facility on Raymer Avenue.
Incoming sewage enters at the headworks in the northeast corner of the plant site. Pumping is necessary at the front end to provide gravity flow through the remainder of the plant. The headworks consists of travelling screens (machines designed to shred rags and other large solids), grit chambers (to settle out coarse grit material) and a flow measuring device called a Parshall Flume, which monitors actual flow to the plant.
The sewage then flows to the primary clarifiers. Primary clarifiers are tanks where the large organic solids are allowed to settle out. A mechanical scraper continuously removes the settled solids from the bottom of the tanks to a hopper at one end where they are drawn off to the fermenter/thickener and then pumped to disposal facilities.
Overflow from the primary clarifiers goes to the biological reactor, where the liquid passes through a series of anaerobic (without oxygen), aerobic and anoxic zones to remove phosphorus, nitrogen and other contaminants. In simple terms, incoming effluent (a carbon source) becomes food for the bacterial organisms (sludge) which live in the big concrete tanks. During the process, phosphorus is absorbed and trapped in the bacterial cells. These settle out later as solids (sludge), which are dewatered to a 20 % solid solution before being taken to the City's composting facilities.
After leaving the Bardenpho reactor, effluent flows to secondary clarifiers. Most of the remaining solids settle out in these tanks and are scraped from the sloping bottoms to a central sump where they are pumped back to the Bardenpho reactor.
Effluent is then directed to the filtration building where the remaining fine solids are filtered out through cloth disc filters. Effluent is then disinfected using ultraviolet light before it flows into Okanagan Lake through an outfall pipe that is 1.2Km off shore and more than 60m deep.