City preparing for future upgrades to wastewater system

The City of Kelowna says it wants to put a little bit more money away for future improvements to the wastewater treatment system.

In a presentation to council on Monday, infrastructure engineering manager Joel Shaw says things are looking pretty good over the next couple of decades, as over 80% of wastewater infrastructure still has close to half its service life remaining.

He says wastewater is both a significant and well-hidden part of the city's operations.

"We service approximately 75% of the city, or about 95,000 customers. Wastewater treatment exceeds 42 million litres per day, on a peak day," he said.

"The system infrastructure is valued at $761 million, and both treated wastewater effluent and bio-solids meet stringent environmental standards."

It cost about $17 million to operate last year, a price tag Shaw expects to increase to about $26 million in the next 20 years.

"We have almost 600 km of wastewater mains, some 35 lift stations, the main wastewater treatment facility on Raymer Avenue, the Brandt's Creek trade waste treatment plant, that treats industrial waste, and we have a regional compost facility on Commonage Road (in Vernon)," he said.

He says with that in mind, over $100 million worth of infrastructure will be added in the next 20 years.

Renewal costs will also go up, from about $3.3 million last year, to $6.5 million per year by 2035.

A big part of that is major additions that will be added over the next couple decades.

"We're going to add about $103 million worth of new assets, that will be added to accomodate growth, and to improve service levels," he said.

"This will increase the total system value from $761 million, to $864 million, and these assets will need additional money to operate and maintain."

Rate increases will be in line with inflation, at 2% per year.