Aug 15, 2014

New UV Pilot Plant Meets First Nation Needs

The plant is designed to address cultural and safe drinking water needs cost-effectively

UV Pilot Plant Meets First Nation Canada

BI Pure Water worked with UBC researchers and Lytton First Nation to develop a water disinfection system that addresses the needs of Canada’s native communities, including both cultural values and the basic necessity of clean drinking water.

The small, cost-effective treatment 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 more than 25 µ and some pathogens, a bag filter to remove contaminants down to 10 µ, an ultraviolet (UV) disinfection unit to neutralize bacteria, cysts and common viruses to required levels, and chlorine residual disinfection to remove microbiological buildup in the piping and any viruses left after UV disinfection. UBC and Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada will finance the system.

Although the pilot project will only serve five to six homes on the west side of the Fraser River near Lytton, leaders hope the project will serve as a blueprint for First Nation communities across the country. As of May 31, 2014, there were 130 Drinking Water Advisories in effect in 91 First Nation communities across Canada, excluding British Columbia, which reports differently. (Last year 20% of the communities were forced to buy or boil their drinking water, according to CTV News.) 

With the new treatment system, band members will have access to clean drinking water right out of the tap — surface water that band members have been using for generations — without being worried about microbial contamination.