Nanaimo is fortunate to have a robust, high quality supply of drinking water and we now protect its quality to a degree that exceeds health standards thanks to our new water treatment plant. Last week, Mayor and Council and City staff offcially opened the plant with the help of Councillor Chris Good and Elder James Johnny of the Snuneymuxw First Nation, MP Joyce Murray and members of the public.
After leaving Jump Lake reservoir and the South Fork Dam, Nanaimo's drinking water then flows through twin pipelines to the new water treatment plant.
Once it enters the plant, there are many steps it has to take to ensure your drinking water is of the highest standard. Raw, untreated water passes through coarse and fine screens to eliminate large debris. There is an optional step called coagulation and flocculation that is able to help the filters remove dissolved organic matter, if any is detected. Water is siphoned by gravity through primary membrane filters. The primary membranes are backwashed occasionally, and the backwash is pumped and flows through a set of secondary membrane filters. This ensures maximum water efficiency.
From the membrane tanks, filtered water flows to a storage tank (called a clearwell), receiving a small dose of chlorine along the way. Fully treated water is then held in the clearwell, before being sent to eight reservoirs located throughout the City. The reservoirs around the City hold the water for when you need it, when it works its way through a series of pipes to your tap.
This state of the art plant features two stages of filtration which recover more than 99% of the water that passes through it. The plant's membranes, designed by GE Water and Process Technology, filter the water that passes through them to 0.1 micron. That's one ten-millionth of a metre which is smaller than most bacteria! And, thanks to Nanaimo's topography, the plant is gravity-fed which is estimated to save tens of thousands of dollars per year in electricity costs.
Staff regularly test the water to ensure high safety standards.
This $72.5 million facility was made possible thanks to contributions of over $36 million from the Building Canada Fund, Federal Gas Tax Fund and BC Hydro's energy incentives program.
Water Treatment Plant construction progress
Water Matters: The Start of a Journey
Water Matters: The South Fork Dam