LWMP Report #3 - May 2012
Vernon is considering discharging sewage effluent to Okanagan Lake so the city can continue to grow. SENS feels there are better ways to deal with sewage. Here is a summary of the problems, recommendations and alternative solutions.
The main recommendation made by Urban Systems is that all or part of the liquid treated effluent coming out of Vernon's sewage treatment system be discharged to Okanagan lake. The problem this is meant to address is that Vernon has too much liquid waste to be accommodated by the land available for irrigation.
It is important to note that:
1. Vernon is not allowed to discharge treated sewage effluent to public lands.
2. There is no recommendation made to reduce the quantity of liquid "wastes"
3. There is no recommendation made to force developers to install proven stand-alone Eco-Sanitation systems that would not add to the liquid waste load
4. No matter how great the waste treatment is, the resulting effluent still contains all of the pharmaceuticals - cancer drugs, heart and blood pressure drugs, diabetes drugs, and every other drug people take for up to 50% of drugs ingested are lost in urine - the hormones (Endocrine Disruptors that exist in personal and home care products) that are proven to greatly impact aquatic animals and even result in male fish carrying eggs, as well as pesticides and other chemical products.
5. All compounds that will enter lake water through that effluent will be absorbed through the skin of swimmers and will negatively impact all who live, breathe, drink and eat from that water. Amphibians, ducks, geese, aquatic birds, fish, all will be affected as demonstrated by all the studies done on the impact of EDCs.
The recommendations are based on premises such as that:
1. Growth will continue to occur even if it exceeds the carrying capacity of Vernon's current ecosystems
2. Liquids and solids are still treated as "wastes" and not "resources".
SENS feels that it is important and urgent to address the growth issue since growth will not increase the quality of life of residents, will destroy rare and important habitat, will add pollution to a lake that keeps its water for 90 years, and will basically benefit mostly developers while adding to the tax burden of residents.