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Osoyoos looks to take on $51M lake-water project amid well troubles

Treating the well water would have cost around $10 million more
Osoyoos Lake. File photo

After recently resolving its 2024 budget issues, the Town of Osoyoos will be looking to incorporate a $51 million lake-water treatment plant in its future spending.

The town already has a $9 million grant for a treatment plant that was originally intended to be used to treat the community’s wells.

The cost of building a treatment facility for the groundwater supply from the town’s existing wells would have been around $10 million more, at $61.5 million.

The town’s council was presented on April 23, with a report breaking down the water situation in the community and the current cost estimates for solutions.

The report was only presented during the committee of the whole and will need to return back to the town’s regular council meeting to be formally incorporated into the budget.

In addition to the existing grant funding, the town already had $16 million in spending in its five-year financial plan for a treatment plant, before the report and cost estimates.

Costs to treat the town’s wells were much higher than treating the lake water due to a variety of issues, including high levels of manganese, ammonia, iron and biological matter in the groundwater.

READ MORE: Osoyoos may look to lake water amid ongoing well issues

Town staff stated that while they would begin reaching out to higher levels of government immediately for further grant support, the town likely would need to borrow funds for the project.

Either of the two options, between groundwater treatment or lake water, would have seen an estimated $1.1 million yearly annual operating budget.

The proposed lake water facility will treat an estimated 32 megaliters, a million litres, of water each day for a cost per litre comparable and lower than the cost Peachland pays for its treatment plant.

The costs for treatment were one of the factors in play for council when it came to its decision.

Council was told that refurbishing the town’s wells would likely cost a separate million dollars apiece, for eight wells, plus another million at least for two new wells to meet the growing demand from the community.

Continuing to use the wells would have also required a cross-town pipe to pull all the groundwater to a single treatment facility before redistributing it back into the water system.

Both options will need new pipes and reworks to the town’s distribution, but the lake water won’t require a cross-town pipe transporting water from all of the wells to a single treatment plant.

With the approval of council on the lake water plant, the town will begin dialing in the details, including the site location of the plant, pipe locations and other necessary aspects.

Brennan Phillips

About the Author: Brennan Phillips

Brennan was raised in the Okanagan and is thankful every day that he gets to live and work in one of the most beautiful places in Canada.
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