Bill Sims

Nanaimo’s new water treatment plant means fewer – if any – boil water advisories

NANAIMO – South Fork Water Treatment Plant now pulling impurities from city drinking water.

Nanaimo residents can look forward to fewer, if any, boil water advisory from the city.

Last week the city hosted a tour of its new $71-million South Fork Water treatment plant, located several kilometres south of Nanaimo on South Fork Road.

Operations began in early December after two years of construction, which was prompted by new Island Health requirements that the city adopt more stringent measures to prevent waterborne illness.

The plant has already diverted water boil advisories from turbidity caused by a series of recent strong winter storms, said Bill Sims, city manager of water resources.

At the heart of the plant filtration process is the plant’s GE Water’s Zeeweed 1000 Ultrafiltration Membrane system. The system, developed in Canada, pulls water through membranes that filter out contaminants and bacteria as small as 1/600th the width of a human hair. The plant also relies on gravity to power its filtration system instead of electrically-driven pumps, providing savings in operation and maintenance costs.

“One of the exciting things about this plant is that normally – when I said we put a vacuum on the membrane tubes to pull the water through – any other membrane plant in Canada uses pumps to do that,” Sims said. “We using a siphon, which is just gravity … gravity is free and the price of it isn’t going up anytime soon.”

For more information about the plant and its filtration system, please visit http://bit.ly/1PhaV1d.

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