Treated Effluent Irrigation at Bylands Nursery

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Regional District Central Okanagan

Project Description:

This project focused on assessing and testing, by a Professional Agrologist with support from RDCO and Bylands staff, the feasibility of using treated effluent from the Westside Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant as a source of irrigation for the neighbouring Bylands Nursery property.

The regulations surrounding the application of the reclaimed water that apply to all exposure potential, according to the BC Municipal Wastewater Regulation, the reclaimed water:

  • Must not be used for irrigation within 30m of any water well or in-ground reservoir used for domestic supply;
  • Must not be used for irrigation within 3 days of harvesting crops;
  • Must not go beyond the property boundaries or reach public areas; and
  • Must not be applied to ground slope greater than 20%.

The monitoring results from the final effluent indicate that the effluent is relatively low in both phosphorus and nitrogen compared to a typical fertilizer application. Therefore, the nutrient concentrations in the treated effluent would likely have a negligible effect on crop nutrition. On the other hand, if the effluent was applied on its own there would likely be little leaching as crop demand significantly exceeds nutrient supply.

None of the parameters that were monitored are present in concentrations that would be expected to be toxic to plants in general or nursery stock in particular, and the pH is neutral. The total suspended solids and biological oxygen demand values are also within typical recommended limits for irrigation. The monitoring results for total metals met the BC Approved and Working Quality Guidelines for irrigation water, both in the raw influent and the treated effluent.

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