Thursday, January 5, 2012

Fresh Clean Water

Occasionally we may think about where the water comes from when we open the tap. Yesterday we set off to find out, here in Penticton, first locating the water treatment plant on Google Earth, then on arrival at the top of Penticton Avenue, we were pleasantly surprised to be offered a tour of the facility...
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Overflow from the Reservoir goes into Penticton Creek then back to Okanagan Lake.

Penticton Creek

Water Treatment Plant just below the Reservoir
Brad took a large flashlight with him and explained the set-up from beginning to end. It is far more complex than I had ever imagined. Previously I thought maybe a filter then some chlorine and off to the taps. There are a large number of steps and processes, well over a dozen, including air pumps, skimming off scum, filtering through six feet of anthracite, adjusting pH, adding chemicals, and so on. The skills required for producing drinking water are also complex, one has to be an expert in machine-shop skills, chemistry, computers, electrical engineering, and pumps and pipes.  If anything goes wrong with equipment, there is only a four hour window for repair.  70% of our water is pumped uphill to the plant from Okanagan Lake in an 18" pipe, and 30% is gravity fed from a reservoir just above the plant. It costs $18 an hour for each pump. Here are a few photos of our visit. None from inside the plant, it was a bit too rushed! Maybe next time!


jennyfreckles said...

I am so thankful for clean, healthy water straight from our taps. It's easy to take it for granted but so many people across the world don't have the luxury. I once visited our local water treatment works but it's so long ago I have almost forgotten all about it.

Filip Demuinck said...

It is like the kid who says that he doesn't drink milk that comes out of a cow. That is really discusting, he only wants to drink milk out of a milk box.


Angela Häring-Christen said...

Sauberes Wasser ist so wertvoll. Wir haben zum Glück genug Trinkwasser in der Schweiz.
Ein gutes Thema hast du gebracht.
Liebe Grüsse