by Dave Preston
The District of Peachland is looking at a unique addition to its water intake system that could lessen the need for treatment and generate electricity.
Engineering firm Urban Systems has been working on a preliminary feasibility study on transporting water to Peachland through a pipeline.
The district’s Water Master Plan calls for Peachland Lake to become the primary source of water for the town. Currently water from that reservoir travels down Peachland (Deep) Creek to an intake near McDougald Road.
Since the master plan was approved in 2007, the district has been working toward building a water filtration plant at the intake to fully treat the creek water to Canadian Drinking Water Standards.
Dan Huang, principal of Urban Systems, told council Tuesday that Interior Health, which is in charge of ensuring water quality in the area, is quite supportive of the pipeline concept.
“You would be creating essentially a closed watershed,” said Huang.
Interior Health requires that there be two barriers of treatment for drinking water and has requested that the district conduct more testing on Peachland Lake water for at least a year.
Instead of building a full blown water filtration plant, Peachland could build the pipeline and treat water with chlorination and ultraviolet, according to Huang.
Building a pipeline would cost $24.7 million, versus $24.6 million for a water filtration plant and reservoir, according to Huang.
Savings could be realized in operating costs. While a filtration plant would cost about $320,000 a year to operate, the pipeline option would cost $192,000 annually.
Because of the substantial drop in elevation from Peachland Lake to Peachland, a pipeline would require three pressure reducing stations to reduce pressure and ensure the pipeline wouldn’t burst, according to Huang.
“Instead of installing pressure reducing stations, it’s possible to install three hydro power micro turbines,” Huang said.
“Its a very exciting opportunity and concept.”
The cost of adding the hydro generating option would be an additional $4.9 million, according to Huang. He said Peachland would see about $536,000 in revenue from the hydro, making the capital payback of the hydro option 9.5 years.
Enough electricity could be produced from the system to power about 500 homes, according to Huang.
Doug Allin, director of operations, told council that if Peachland goes with the pipeline option, Interior Health will likely require the town to set aside a site for a future treatment plant. He said, because the pipeline would eliminate contaminants entering the water system along its length, any treatment done to the water would be to a “minor level” compared to treating open creek water.
“By closing the system you’ve eliminated the risks in the watershed,” said Allin.
Council approved a budget of $14,000 for additional testing of Peachland Lake water. Huang said if the water quality matches Interior Health objectives, council will be asked in the future to conduct a more detailed feasibility study.