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Sewage fish should continue

Says the mayor
Kelowna Daily Courier
Friday, December 22, 1989

Kelowna Mayor Jim Stuart is insistent that fish rearing continue at the city’s sewage treatment plant.

In 1988 the Ministry of Environment reared 8,000 kokanee in the outflow from the plant. Those fish tested healthy and were released into Baker Lake near Okanagan Mountain Park.

This year 15,000 trout were reared then released into Beacon Lake near Beaverdell. But those were the last fish slated for the site.

“It has been a great project,” Stuart said Thursday. “It’s a shame to see it dumped.”

The fish demonstrate that the discharge from the plant is clean. But the Ministry of Environment, after showing the fish could survive there, has discontinued its support.

Stuart has elicited the backing of MLA Larry Chalmers (Social Credit Okanagan South), the City of Penticton and members of cabinet. He is frustrated that MLA Cliff Serwa (Social Credit Okanagan South) is still “dragging his feet” on his support.

Ultimately the plant could rear one million fish a year for sports fishing, Stuart said.

It will take years, however, before it is proven the fish can be safely released into the wild and are edible. It may take even longer to get public acceptance of sewer-reared fish.

The work at the plant has demonstrated the effectiveness of the Bardenpho treatment system in producing clean water to be discharged into Okanagan Lake. It is reputed to be the best in the world.

An ongoing project will serve as a continual monitor of the quality of water being discharged and as a classroom for Okanagan College students who have worked on past projects, Stuart said.