GEID System Info
The District's principal source of water is Kelowna Creek watershed, which lies east of the Kelowna Airport. Water from snow melt during spring run off is stored behind dams at Postill, Moore, and South Lakes. This water is subsequently released into Mill Creek and then diverted to the Ellison area or the McKinley Reservoir, as required. GEID also operates five wells located in various areas of the District to supplement the surface water supply. All water is treated with chlorine and the mountain source water is also run through screens. Water is released into the distribution system as demand dictates.
The primary objective of all purveyors is to provide drinking water that is safe, palatable and aesthetically pleasing.
The District continuously monitors the distribution system as well as the watershed.
Daily checks of the system are completed by the District staff and samples are collected three times a week and tested in house. GEID Technicians who are responsible for water quality sampling and analysis have completed a two year water quality certificate program. Once a week, samples are sent to an independent laboratory to test for various physical, chemical, and microbiological standards outlined in the federal Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality.
The Interior Health Authority also regularly collects and analyzes replicate water samples from within the distribution system for bacteriological contamination. IH also tests our water periodically for a wide range of chemical parameters.
Reservoirs and pump stations are also connected to a computer in the District office. If any problems arise at the Reservoirs or Pump stations a signal is transmitted to the computer, which in turn sends an alarm directly to the staff or answering service for immediate attention. Water System operators have completed the Environmental Operator's Certificate Program.
While water supplied by GEID meets health-related standards for bacteriological parameters such as E.Coli., it frequently falls short of aesthetic objectives for colour and turbidity, particularly during spring run off and after major rain events. Colour is caused by naturally occurring organic substances such as leaves and pine needles in the District's watershed. Water flowing through vegetation on the forest floor leaches tannins and lignins, thereby colouring the water yellow.
To help prevent colour and turbidity in the distribution system, water lines are flushed regularly to rid them of sediment buildup. As it is impossible to predict exactly when water mains should be flushed, District staff also rely on customers to inform them if water quality deteriorates.
The District continues ongoing work towards improving water quality, through operational decisions to maximize the use of the highest quality supplies available to us. In addition, GEID expects to begin using Okanagan Lake as a primary source for the Glenmore distribution system by August 2013.
More information on the Okanagan Lake Project, to provide Okanagan Lake water to the Glenmore distribution system is available under a separate article.