HomeServicesUtilitiesSewer / Septage → Wastewater Recovery Project

Wastewater Recovery Project

Stay Informed and Get Involved!

Why do we need a wastewater recovery system?

  • Water quality assessments have shown that many area septic systems are leaching contaminants into Swan Lake, thereby impacting water and soil quality, bird habitat, and recreational use of the corridor.
  • A wastewater recovery system would address these concerns, provide much-needed irrigation water for area growers, and support suitable commercial and industrial development in the area zoned for those purposes.

Project at a Glance

Sign up for regular updates to stay informed about project funding, design, construction, and start-up activities. To subscribe to the e-newsletter, visit www.rdno.ca (Mailing Lists).

PUBLIC INPUT OPPORTUNITIES
Wastewater Recovery Community Working Group Terms of Reference
Wastewater Recovery Community Working Group Application Form
RDNO Petition

NEWS RELEASES
January 15, 2019: RDNO Area B and C Property Owners in Proposed Service Area: Watch Your Mailbox for Swan Lake Corridor Sewer Petition
December 18, 2018, Petition of Area B and C property owners the next step toward community sewer for Swan Lake Corridor
November 26, 2018: Volunteers Announced for the Wastewater Recovery Community Working Group
Aug 27, 2018: MOU and Grant Application next big steps
Oct 10, 2017: North Okanagan Wastewater Recovery Project Phase 2 Funding
Nov 16, 2015: Master Wastewater Recovery Plan Update
Oct 13, 2015: Master Wastewater Recovery Plan Launch

PROJECT UPDATES
June 19, 2018: Next steps are to complete feasibility study and secure funds

BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Proposed Service Area Map
2018 Memorandum of Understanding
2018 Phase 2 Feasibility Study (Coming soon)
2016 Phase 1 Feasibility Study
2015 Memorandum of Understanding

Key Project Stakeholders

The Wastewater Recovery Project is being undertaken by the following key stakeholder groups:

  • Partnership Committee (elected officials and senior staff from RDNO, Spallumcheen, and OKIB

ROLE: To steer the project and make key project decisions

  •  Wastewater Recovery Community Working Group (Partnership Committee members along with members representing community, environmental, agricultural, and business interests)

ROLE: To build community awareness/participation in the process and to inform project outcomes

  • Technical Team (local government staff along with technical and communications/engagement consultants)

ROLE: To inform, undertake and oversee the project

  • Communications/Engagement Team (key project stakeholders and communications/engagement consultants

ROLE: To optimize internal and external communication and engagement

 

Strong interest in community sewer shown at RDNO petition open house

More than 130 Area B and C property owners attended an open house Tuesday to learn about the North Okanagan Wastewater Recovery Project in general and the Regional District of North Okanagan (RDNO) petition in particular.

Attendees spoke with elected officials, RDNO and Urban Systems staff, and Wastewater Recovery Community Working Group members about project benefits, the proposed service area, and treatment system components and locations. Interest was particularly strong around potential rates for their properties if RDNO gets the go-ahead from Area B and C property owners to borrow $5.2 million for their share of the $36.9 million project. For more information, view the open house display boards.

ABOUT THE PETITION

Area B and C residents and businesses within the proposed service area have received personalized petition packages outlining long-term borrowing details and rates for their 14 percent share ($5.2 million) of the $36.9 million project. Those who support borrowing should sign their petitions and return them to RDNO before March 15th. Property owners who haven’t received their petitions should contact Leah Mellott, RDNO General Manager of Electoral Area Administration at 250-550-3722 or [email protected].

To succeed, the petition must be signed by the owners of at least 50 percent of the parcels liable to be charged for the proposed service. In addition, people signing must be the owners of parcels that, in total, represent at least 50 percent of the net taxable value of all land and improvements within the proposed service area.

If the petition succeeds, RDNO could establish a local service area and proceed with borrowing if the federal/provincial grant for $24.3 million is approved (see pie chart below). The project will not continue without the grant.

ABOUT THE PROJECT

The project would provide residences and businesses with a safe and reliable sewer system and treatment facility to protect Swan Lake water quality, provide reclaimed water for agriculture, enhance recreational opportunities, and support economic development for the Township of Spallumcheen’s south-east industrial area and portions of Areas B and C and Okanagan Indian Band lands within the proposed service area.

ABOUT PROJECT FUNDING

If approved, a recent grant application to the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program would cover $24.3 million, or about 66 percent of the total $36.9 million cost. The remaining amount is proposed to be funded by RDNO borrowing ($5.2 million), an Okanagan Basin Water Board grant ($5.9 million), and Township of Spallumcheen reserves ($1.5 million). Without this funding the project will not proceed at this time.

Project timing is ideal, given the potential availability grants that would cover more than 80 percent of funding.

 

 

RECENT SUCCESSES

Wastewater Recovery Community Working Group: A big “THANK YOU” to this new group, whose primary project goals are environmental protection and sustainable economic development in the Swan Lake Corridor.

Back left to right: Leith Skinner (outdoorsman/environmentalist); Ray Ivey (Area C Advisory Planning Commission / Swan Lake Local Area Plan Advisory Committee); Bob Fleming (Area B Director); Doug Neden (retired water and wastewater professional); Betty Holtskog (Registered Onsite Wastewater Practitioner); Mike Broersma (dairy farmer); and Anita Rea (Spallumcheen resident with community development experience) Leah Mellott (General Manager of Electoral Area Administration, RDNO). Front back to right: Marnie Williamson (North Okanagan Naturalists Club); Amanda Shatzko (Area C Director); and Christine LeMaire (Spallumcheen Councillor). Missing: Christine Fraser (Spallumcheen Mayor) and Alan Short (Avenue Machinery).

  • Wastewater Recovery Community Working Group: Environmental protection and sustainable economic development in the Swan Lake Corridor are the primary goals of the newly established Wastewater Recovery Community Working Group.

    A strong response to the call for volunteers resulted in a good mix of applicants from all sectors, interests, and area locations. The working group met for the first time November 29, 2018, with elected officials and staff from the partner organizations. As well as learning more about the project and their role moving forward, working group members also visited the proposed treatment plant location on L&A Cross Road and nearby potential water storage sites.

    The group’s first task will be to help build public awareness about the project in general and to bring attention to a petition of Area B and C property owners within the proposed service area. The petition will determine if those property owners support borrowing $5.2 million over 20 years.

    If the petition succeeds, and if senior government grant funding is awarded, the Working Group members will then begin gathering community input on project design, construction, and startup.

    All eight candidates were approved November 14, 2018, by the Partnership Team, which includes RDNO, Township of Spallumcheen, and OKIB. Working group members include:

    • Alan Short (Avenue Machinery)

    • Anita Rea (Spallumcheen resident with a background in community development)

    • Betty Holtskog (Registered Onsite Wastewater Practitioner)

    • Douglas Neden (Retired Water and Wastewater Professional)

    • Leith Skinner (Outdoorsman / Environmentalist)

    • Marnie Williamson (North Okanagan Naturalists Club)

    • Mike Broersma (Dairy Farmer)

    • Ray Ivey (Member of Area “C” Advisory Planning Commission and Swan Lake Local Area Plan Advisory Committee)

  • Memorandum of Understanding (MOU): Project partners signed an MOU outlining administrative, ownership, decision-making, cost recovery, and operations and management arrangements.
  • Grant Application: A $24.3 million funding request for 66% of the $36.9 million total project cost was submitted to the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program on August 29, 2018. The remaining amount is proposed to be funded through the Okanagan Basin Water Board Sewerage Facilities Assistance Grant ($5.9 million), Township of Spallumcheen reserves ($1.5 million) and RDNO borrowing ($5.2 million).
    It’s important to note that the project will not proceed without grant funding and support for borrowing from RDNO Area B and C residents and businesses in the proposed service area which will be sought through a petition process. More information about the petition will be released soon.
  • Property Purchase: The Township of Spallumcheen bought a 2.5-acre site on L&A Cross Road that could accommodate the wastewater recovery plant. The Township also secured a 99-year lease for reclaimed water storage from a nearby property owner and arranged a partnership with an existing biosolids composting facility near the project site.

Important Q&As

Q: What is the project?

A: The North Okanagan Wastewater Recovery Project is a partnership launched in 2015 by the Regional District of North Okanagan (RDNO), Township of Spallumcheen, and Okanagan Indian Band (OKIB) to provide sewer service to residents and businesses in portions of RDNO Areas B and C, the Township of Spallumcheen’s south-east industrial area, and parts of OKIB IR#4 at the north end of Swan Lake.

This collaborative approach will:

  • Protect Swan Lake water quality
  • Support local agriculture with reclaimed water
  • Provide development opportunities for residential and commercial/industrial properties within the proposed service area (with supportive zoning)
  • Enable appropriate and sustainable economic development in all three jurisdictions
  • Enhance recreational use of the corridor

Also in 2015, the partners commissioned Urban Systems to explore technical aspects of the project. The resulting feasibility studies outlined collective objectives and potential land uses, service levels, engineering approaches, costs, governance models, and financial frameworks. It also summarized project components, including:

  • Wastewater collection and transmission system
  • Wastewater treatment and recovery facility
  • Treated water storage ponds
  • Irrigation and water-reuse distribution lines
  • Biosolids composting

Project partners agreed from the beginning that for the project to be viable, user fees for potential residential, commercial, and industrial customers must be comparable with what other jurisdictions are charging for similar services. This can only be achieved with federal and provincial grant funding and other financial partnerships.

The $36.9 million project depends on funding from the following sources:

  • $24.3 million from the federal/provincial Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program
  • $5.9 million from the Okanagan Basin Water Board
  • $5.2 in long-term RDNO borrowing approved by petition of Area B and C property owners within the proposed service area
  • $1.5 million from Township of Spallumcheen reserves

Decisions about project funding should be made by May 2019. If funding is approved, the project will proceed to the design phase where engineering and construction details will be finalized with input from the volunteer Wastewater Recovery Community Working Group to ensure community needs are met.

Q: What are the benefits for residents?  

A: RDNO heard loud and clear at the Swan Lake Commercial Area & Neighbourhood Plan open houses that area residents are interested in the opportunities a community sewer system would bring. Survey results from the June 2018 Open House event indicate that 76 percent of respondents support a sewer system, primarily for environmental and economic reasons.

More specifically, connecting to community sewer would:

  • Increase property values and market appeal
  • Avoid costly septic system malfunctions
  • Eliminate odours from malfunctioning septic systems
  • Free up land currently being used for septic systems
  • Provide opportunities to subdivide larger lots in non-ALR areas
  • Allow for wider range of commercial and industrial uses
  • Allow for the development of secondary suites and carriage homes (with zoning amendments)

Q: What are the benefits for businesses?

A: The RDNO’s Regional Growth Strategy predicts that more than one-third of existing businesses will expand over the next ten years, and that serviced land is a key factor. With sewer, commercial and industrial property owners would have more development and subdivision opportunities. Those businesses currently pumping and hauling waste would have a reliable and practical alternative.

In addition, connecting to community sewer would:

  • Increase property and business values
  • Eliminate cost and inconvenience of repairing/replacing a malfunctioning septic system
  • Eliminate odours from malfunctioning septic systems
  • Reduce restrictions for expanding building footprint.

Q: What would this mean for the environment?

A: Historically, septic systems have been used to treat residential, commercial, and industrial wastewater in the Swan Lake Corridor. Water quality assessments in 2015 and 2016 showed that many ageing septic systems are leaking contaminants into Swan Lake, thereby contributing to the degradation of water quality and bird habitat.

Q: How would the project support agriculture?

A: A Regional Growth Strategy goal is to “explore opportunities to expand the use of reclaimed water for agriculture in a safe, cost-effective, and efficient manner.”  The proposed wastewater recovery system would provide much-needed irrigation water for area growers during the hot summer months. A potential treatment plant site on L&A Cross Road would enable easy distribution of reclaimed water. The plant would also produce biosolids that could be composted at a nearby facility and then used on agricultural land. Serviced land could enable and encourage increased agritourism, which is also a Regional Growth Strategy goal.

All members of the Regional Agricultural Advisory Committee support the project and welcome the benefits it would bring.

Q: How would the project enhance recreational use of the corridor? 

A: The water quality of Swan Lake directly impacts its use as a recreational amenity for both residents and visitors alike. Cleaner water would encourage more rowers, kayakers, and paddlers to enjoy the lake’s many unique features. Enhanced fish and wildlife habitat would attract birdwatchers and people who enjoy fishing.

Q: How about the overall economic advantages? 
A: 
As called for in the Regional Growth Strategy, the three project partners are eager to collaborate on economic development and business attraction. However, economic development in RDNO Areas B and C, the Township of Spallumcheen’s south-east industrial area, and OKIB IR4 are all hindered by the corridor’s lack of sewer. Ideal for commercial and light industrial uses, with its proximity to major highways, the corridor requires a wastewater treatment plant and reclaimed water storage sites to optimize opportunities for existing businesses and provide practical and affordable infrastructure for new businesses.

Q: Is this a good time to build the project?  

A: Given that Swan Lake and area residents and businesses are calling for sewer serviceand that grant funding could cover more than 80 percent of total project coststhis is an ideal time to build the project. This historic opportunity would bring wastewater treatment to the area at a reasonable cost to both residential and commercial/industrial property owners.

Q: Where is the proposed service area?
A: The proposed service area includes portions of RDNO Areas B and C, the Township of Spallumcheen’s south-east industrial area, and parts of OKIB IR4 north of Swan Lake.

 

Q: Where would the treatment plant be located?

A: If grant funding is approved and the RDNO petition is successful, the treatment plant could be built on a 2.5-acre site recently purchased by the Township of Spallumcheen. Zoned for industrial use, and with no residential zoning nearby, the property is located at 67B L&A Cross Road. The Township also secured a 99-year lease for reclaimed water storage from a nearby property owner and arranged a partnership with an existing biosolids composting facility near the project site. 

Q: What would the wastewater recovery system include?

A: The wastewater recovery system would include collection and transmission infrastructure, a wastewater recovery facility, effluent storage ponds, an irrigation and water re-use network, and biosolids composting.

Q: What type of plant would be built?

A: The wastewater treatment plant would use conventional screening and grit-removal technology, followed by membrane bio-reactors. These types of reactors have come into widespread use over the last 20 years. Extremely fine-pore membranes are used to filter out the smallest of particles, resulting in very clear contaminant-free effluent. The water would then be disinfected with ultraviolet light, making it safe for public exposure and suitable for agricultural irrigation.

The treatment plant would also process biosolids using ‘digestion’ technology. The digested biosolids would be composted with a mixture of wood chips and the compost applied to agricultural operations in the region.

Q: What other potential solutions were considered?
A: Water quality, economic development, and agricultural studies all recommend community sewer as the most practical and affordable approach. Connection to the City of Armstrong sewer was explored but is not viable. In keeping with City of Vernon policy, expansion of its sewer system would not be possible unless the Swan Lake Corridor became part of the City of Vernon. Nor could the system be expanded into the Township of Spallumcheen or OKIB.

Q: How long would it take to build the system?
A: There are a number of factors influencing the project schedule. For starters, the project will not proceed without approval from Area B and C residents to borrow $5.2 million for their share of the $36.9 million project, and from the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program grant for $24.3 million. If funding is approved, the project would then enter detailed design phase, followed by construction and start-up. It is estimated this work would take four to five years.

Q: If the project proceeds, how long would it take before Swan Lake water quality improves?
A: 
As determined by water quality assessments conducted in 2015 and 2016, malfunctioning septic systems are contributing to the degradation of Swan Lake water quality. Because water circulates fairly quickly in the lake, water quality would likely improve within five years of the wastewater recovery system being commissioned.

Q: As a residential property owner, would I be required to connect?
A:
The three participating local governments have agreed that residential property owners will not be forced to connect. Connection will be voluntary, however, property owners who don’t connect will still be required to pay the Infrastructure Base Tax and the Local Area Service Tax (see page 6 for details). Those who choose to connect will not pay a connection fee.

Q: Will businesses have to connect?
A: Yes, all commercial and industrial operations within the proposed service area will be required to connect.

Q: Can properties abutting the proposed service area be included in the initial phase?
A: 
The service area for Phase 1 is fixed at this time. If, however, nearby property owners would like to connect to the system, they would need to follow a similar, but separate, petition process for their properties and surrounding neighbours who want to join.

Q: What about future connection opportunities?
A: As outlined in Urban Systems’ 2018 Feasibility Study, future expansion phases could unfold as shown on the map below.

Q: How much would the system cost?
A: A feasibility study prepared by Urban Systems estimated the total project cost at $36.9 million. If approved, a recent grant application to the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program would cover $24.3 million, or about 66 percent of the total cost. The remaining amount is proposed to be funded by RDNO borrowing ($5.2 million), an Okanagan Basin Water Board grant ($5.9 million), and Township of Spallumcheen reserves ($1.5 million).

Q: Would RDNO require ratepayer support to borrow money?

A: Yes. A petition starting in early January 2019 will determine whether RDNO Area B and C property and business owners in the service area support borrowing the $5.2 million needed to supplement senior government funding. To succeed, the petition must be signed by the owners of at least 50 percent of the parcels liable to be charged for the proposed service. In addition, persons signing must be the owners of parcels that in total represent at least 50 percent of the net taxable value of all land and improvements within the proposed service area.

Q: How much would it cost property owners?

A: Costs for the RDNO borrowing of $5.2 million would be spread over 20 years with annual debt servicing of about $365,000. This will be recovered through an Infrastructure Base Fee and a Local Service Area Tax. These cover the costs of building the wastewater treatment facility and related infrastructure.

  • The Infrastructure Base Fee for residential and business properties is proposed to be $400 per year per parcel or $240/year for an RV unit located within an RV park. This is an ongoing charge.
  • The Local Service Area Tax (LSAT) will apply until the debt is paid and be calculated using land values only (not improvements).
    • The LSAT for residential properties would be calculated at $1.5097 per $1,000 of assessed land value.
    • The LSAT for commercial/business properties would be calculated at $3.6988 per $1,000 assessed land value.
    • The LSAT for Industrial properties would be $5.1330 per $1,000 of assessed land value.  
    • The estimated annual costs of operation and maintenance are about $360,000. These would be recovered through an Annual User Fee charged to connected properties.

The estimated annual costs of operation and maintenance are about $360,000. These would be recovered through an Annual User Fee charged to connected properties.

Q: What other costs would property owners have?
A: Operations and maintenance costs of about $360,000 would be recovered through an ANNUAL USER FEE charged to connected properties. Property owners would also be responsible for the costs of decommissioning their septic systems and installing sewer pipes from their property lines to their homes or businesses that meet the RDNO building code. Both of these charges would vary from property to property.

Q: Why is now the ideal time for the project?
A:
Federal/provincial funding and other potential grants would cover more than 80 percent of the total project cost; Swan Lake Corridor residents and businesses have been calling for community sewer for some time; and the partnership offers a practical and affordable regional solution that also benefits RDNO, Township of Spallumcheen, and OKIB individually. Without grant approval, the project will not proceed.

Q: Who are the project partners?
A: 
Partner organizations include the Regional District of North Okanagan, Township of Spallumcheen, and Okanagan Indian Band. Collaborative and cost-sharing Memorandums of Understanding were developed in 2015 and updated in 2018 to formalize factors such as administrative functions, ownership of sewer works, decision-making authority, operations and system management, allocation of plant capacity, capital costs recovery, and wastewater recovery regulations.

Q: Why is the partnership so important?
A: 
The partnership offers four significant benefits.

  1. It provides an opportunity to turn wastewater into a valuable resource with positive environmental, agricultural, recreational, and economic impacts for all three jurisdictions.
  2. It ensures ownership, operations, and costing flexibility to meet each jurisdiction’s needs.
  3. It is best suited for senior government funding opportunities that recommend local government collaboration.
  4. It guarantees input from all jurisdictions through the Wastewater Recovery Community Working Group, thereby ensuring diverse community wants and needs are reflected in project outcomes.

Q: What are the benefits of the project to each partner?
A: All jurisdictions will benefit from the overall environmental, agricultural, recreational, and economic improvements and the opportunities the project provides. Project outcomes support guiding principles outlined in the Regional Growth Strategy, including the protection of environment and natural lands and the promotion of water stewardship, agriculture and food systems, sustainable economic development, and collaborative service delivery on a regional scale.

RDNO Areas B and C: Project outcomes reflect objectives laid out in the new Swan Lake Commercial Area & Neighbourhood Plan. The project would support appropriate residential and commercial development through infilling, while helping to improve environmental integrity and maintain the rural feel of the area. Other potential positive impacts are increased economic activity and recreational use of the corridor. Future zoning amendments could enable the development of more affordable housing units such as secondary suites and carriage houses on properties with sewer.

Township of Spallumcheen: The project supports goals outlined in the Township’s Official Community Plan, which are to encourage sustainable economic development while preserving the agricultural land base, rural character, and environmental attributes. Wastewater recovery will enable existing businesses to grow and new businesses to locate in the area, thereby increasing the types of business and numbers of jobs available. Increased commercial/industrial taxation from these expanded and new businesses will help support the delivery of other important community services.

Okanagan Indian Band: : OKIB has undeveloped land in IR#4 within the proposed service area that would be well served by the Wastewater Recovery Project. While Areas B and C and the Township of Spallumcheen would be serviced initially, OKIB would connect in the future.

Q: Who would own the system?
A: As outlined in the 2018 Memorandum of Understanding, system ownership would be divided into two categories: common works and attributable works.

Common works include the:

  • Wastewater recovery plant
  • Lines from the plant to the storage ponds
  • Storage ponds
  • Supply lines to Swan Lake and irrigation fields
  • Railway and highway crossings and short stubs of major collection systems trunks leading into the wastewater recovery plant.

Initially, only RDNO and the Township of Spallumcheen would connect to the common works, with each paying 50 percent of net costs at the time of construction. OKIB plans to connect in the future, and would then pay one-third of net costs.

Attributable works would include wastewater collection lines, lift stations, pump stations, and force mains owned by and located in each jurisdiction. Each party can decide if it wants to operate and maintain the system with its own staff, contract with RDNO, or contract with another entity.

Q: What’s being done to inform and engage the community?

A:  Community awareness and input are key to a successful project. To that end, the project features:

  • An open house January 22, 2019 to inform Area B and C property owners about the project in general and the RDNO petition in particular.
  • A webpage at www.rdno.ca (Wastewater Recovery Project) with all project information…please share this with anyone you think might be interested in the project!
  • A Wastewater Recovery Community Working Group to help guide the process. The group’s first task is to build community awareness in preparation for the RDNO petition. The group reflects a good mix of volunteers from all sectors, interests, and service area locations, and includes:
    • Alan Short (Avenue Machinery Corp)
    • Anita Rea (Spallumcheen Stepping Stones)
    • Betty Holtskog (Registered Onsite Wastewater Practitioner)
    • Douglas Neden (Former Wastewater Professional)
    • Leith Skinner (Outdoorsman/Environmentalist)
    • Marnie Williamson (North Okanagan Naturalist Club) 
    • Mike Broersma (Dairy Farmer)
    • Ray Ivey (Area C Advisory Planning Committee)
  • Frequent news releases and ads to increase awareness…check the website regularly and/or sign up for Project Update emails by subscribing to a mailing list.

PROJECT BACKGROUND

Historically, septic systems have been used to treat residential, commercial, and industrial wastewater in the Swan Lake corridor. Water quality assessments have shown that many of these systems are leaching contaminants into Swan Lake, thereby impacting surface and groundwater quality, bird habitat, and recreational use of the corridor.

Additionally, economic development in RDNO Areas B and C, the Township of Spallumcheen’s south-east industrial area, and OKIB IR4 are all compromised by the corridor’s lack of sewer. Ideal for commercial and light industrial uses, the corridor requires a wastewater treatment plant and reclaimed water storage sites to optimize business growth. Wastewater recovery and reuse would also benefit agriculture in the area, as growers require additional sources of irrigation water during the hot summer months.

MEMORANDUMS OF UNDERSTANDING (2015/2018)

In 2015, to further explore these challenges and opportunities, RDNO, Spallumcheen, and OKIB formalized a collaborative, cost-sharing Memorandum of Understanding that outlines the following objectives and guiding principles.

OBJECTIVES

  • Preserve Swan Lake and surrounding wetlands; and
  • Improve opportunities for economic development. 

GUIDING PRINCIPLES

  • Wastewater is a resource.
  • Collaboration and the sharing of human and financial resources achieves better results.
  • Respect for each partner’s mandates and decision-making processes strengthens the partnership.
  • Open and transparent communication among the parties and with the public optimizes project support and success.

An updated and more detailed and action-focused MOU entitled Provision of Wastewater Recovery Facilities and Services has been signed and outlines factors such as administrative functions, ownership of sewer works, decision-making authority, operations and systems management, allocation of plant capacity, capital costs recovery, and wastewater recovery regulations.

The 2015 Memorandum of Understanding was signed by RDNO Area C and B Directors Mike Macnabb (left) and Bob Fleming (right), OKIB Chief Byron Louis, and Spallumcheen Mayor Janice Brown.
The 2015 Memorandum of Understanding was signed by RDNO Area C and B Directors Mike Macnabb (left) and Bob Fleming (right), OKIB Chief Byron Louis, and Spallumcheen Mayor Janice Brown.

GOVERNANCE

As documented in the 2015 MOU, collaborative governance of the project:

  • Increases leverage when applying for provincial and/or federal funding;
  • Facilitates the development of consistent and integrated plans, policies, and programs; 
  • Ensures an integrated approach to public outreach and engagement; and                                                                                                                                       
  • Sets the stage for future collaborations.

Governance structures, functions, and jurisdictional roles and responsibilities are outlined in the 2018 MOU.

PHASING

  • Phase 1, undertaken between 2015 and 2016, explored options for providing wastewater treatment in the Swan Lake corridor. The resulting 2016 Phase 1 Feasibility Study, prepared by Urban Systems, supported the development of wastewater recovery, treatment, and reuse.
  • Phase 2, undertaken in 2018, refined technical aspects of the project and examined funding options and governance structures. The resulting 2018 Phase 2 Feasibility Study was used to guide the development of the funding application submitted August 29, 2018, to the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program.

TECHNICAL CONSIDERATIONS
To date, project partners have collaborated to:

  • Assess existing environmental conditions (i.e., water quality analyses conducted in 2015, 2016 and 2017 confirmed that leaching septic systems are impacting Swan Lake health)
  • Identify existing and potential commercial and industrial uses in the plan area (i.e., 2016 RDNO Employment Lands Report)
  • Identify wastewater treatment, reuse and disposal strategies and options (i.e., 2016 Phase 1 Feasibility Study and 2018 Phase 2 Feasibility Study).

Research outcomes, in all cases, supported the construction of a wastewater recovery facility and associated reclaimed water storage facilities to address environmental challenges, enhance economic growth, and provide much-needed irrigation water to area farmers.

CONCURRENT PROCESSES

  • Swan Lake Commercial Area and Neighbourhood Plan (in its final stages)
  • Natural Capital Assets Planning, with funding of $120,000 provided by the Gas Tax Strategic Priorities Fund (underway).

FUNDING

  • Financial commitments were shared by project partners for Phase 1 scoping and Phase 2 technical analyses.
  • A $10,000 Infrastructure Planning Grant was received from Province of BC in 2017 to assist with Phase 2 costs.
  • It is important to note that the project will not proceed without senior government funding. Project partners submitted a grant application for $24.3 million to the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program on August 29, 2018.
  • If grant funding is approved, the additional funding needed would come from an Okanagan Basin Water Board Sewerage Facilities Assistance Grant ($5.9 million), Spallumcheen reserves ($1.5 million), and RDNO borrowing ($5.2 million).

For more information about the project, please contact: 

Leah Mellott
General Manager, Electoral Area Administration
Regional District of North Okanagan
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 250-550-3722

Doug Allin
Chief Administrative Officer
Township of Spallumcheen
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 250-546-3013

Victor Rumbolt
Executive Director
Okanagan Indian Band
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 250-542-4328