Citizens and city officials gathered today to celebrate the city of Nanaimo’s grand opening of a new water treatment plant on Vancouver Island.

“We’re excited to have Nanaimo come out to see their new fantastic piece of infrastructure and learn about how we treat your drinking water. Our new water treatment plant provides Nanaimo residents and businesses safe, clean, purified drinking water that tastes amazing, ” said Bill Sims, manager, water resources for the city of Nanaimo.

“The innovative membrane system provides a hard barrier to protect the health of our citizens. Being the only plant in Canada that exclusively uses gravity to siphon water through the membranes is an exciting and highly efficient innovation,” he said.

Prior to the opening of the new plant, the city had experienced boil water advisories due to elevated turbidity. To meet new regulations, the city was required to build a new facility that would filter the source water to screen out minute particles, bacteria and pathogenic disease-causing organisms such as cryptosporidium and giardia.

The city’s previous system was a single form of treatment involving coarse and fine screening of water to remove large debris followed by chlorine injection. The new facility features membrane technology from GE that employs a multi-barrier approach by fine-screening, two-stage siphon membrane system and chlorine disinfection, and ultraviolet disinfection that treats the backwash water to increase overall plant recovery to more than 99 per cent.

The plant is capable of treating up to 116 million liters per day and provides drinking water for the 90,000 residents.

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The project cost the municipality $72.5 million, with a major share of funding coming from the Building Canada Fund.

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