Lytton First Nation Water Treatment Plant

The Lytton First Nation is rich in natural resources. Water availability is perhaps one of the most significant natural resources available to the Nation. The Stein River water system meets the water needs of a large proportion of community members while other community wells provide water to other members. Natural spring waters are available in various areas.

About This Project

BI Pure Water Inc., a water and waste water system designer, manufacturer and tester, worked with University of British Columbia researchers and Lytton First Nation to develop a water disinfection system that addresses the needs of native communities, both cultural values as well as the basic necessity of clean drinking water. Many communities such as Nickeyeah in Lytton, BC are plagued by seasonal events — spring snowmelt and weather such as rainstorms causing turbidity and low quality water which triggers a large chlorine application.

The research team for this project — RES’EAU-WaterNET — brought their mobile treatment plant to the Lytton community to begin testing the source water. Key to the success of the new treatment system for the project team was determined to be community and operator input both before and during the design process. A previous system design by a consulting engineering company was rejected as too expensive, and the current chlorination system for this community and others is disliked. The operator, Jim Brown was instrumental in communicating the needs and goals of his community as well as his requirements as the manager and operator of the new treatment system. In return he knows the system inside and out, and who to call for any problems.

The RES’EAU Living Lab is a 20 foot cargo trailer with an operator-friendly, flexible water treatment pilot plant installed inside. Each treatment component has bypass piping to allow the use of specific technologies for each test. After a number of days of testing other treatment components can be added until the optimum process is determined.

The Living Lab has the advantage of selecting and testing specific components in real time to confirm that they are cost effective for the specific water source. Precise results can be obtained rather than an estimate of what the full plant might be able to treat. The size and cost of the full scale plant — often less than what must be estimated without full information — can be precisely determined when applying for municipal or federal financing.

The permanent Lytton Nickeyeah water treatment plant is now under construction. The system utilizes a basket strainer to remove large particles and organic items that may be pumped from the creek and could plug valves or other components, a self-cleaning filter to reduce particles above 25 microns and some pathogens, a bag filter to remove contaminants down to 10 microns, a UV disinfection unit to neutralize bacteria, cysts and common viruses to required levels, and chlorine only as residual disinfection to remove microbiological buildup in the piping and remove any viruses left after UV disinfection.

The system, costing about half of a full plant, was approved last month for financing by UBC and Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC). It is intended that this first pilot process will serve as a blueprint for all small communities across the country.

More Information Online

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