The City of Merritt has just completed its final stage of flood recovery of the Municipal Wastewater System. At 10:30 am on Tuesday, July 26, 2022, the City opened the valves to the newly repaired Rapid Infiltration Basin, located at the end of Pine Street. Final site work will be completed this week.
During the November 2021 flood, these basins were filled with debris and damaged. While the Wastewater Treatment Plant itself (located on the corner of Main and Quilchena Avenue) was saved from damage, the final step involving the Rapid Infiltration Basins needed to be bypassed. Over the past several months, the City of Merritt had a special amended permit from the BC Ministry of Environment to allow clear, continuously quality-tested, treated wastewater to be discharged into the fast-flowing Coldwater River while the Rapid Infiltration basins were being repaired.
Typically the wastewater treatment process involves both the Wastewater Treatment Plant and the Rapid Infiltration Basin. In the treatment plant, solids are removed, filtered, ground up, and treated. The remaining liquid is put into treatment tanks where good bacteria dissolve the bad bacteria. The treated wastewater is then chlorinated, and then dechlorinated. The wastewater is then piped from the Treatment Plant into the Rapid Infiltration Basin, where the treated liquid seeps back into the earth. Full information on the wastewater treatment process can be found in the 2020 Wastewater Annual Report.
The City of Merritt would like to thank all communities downstream along the Nicola River for their understanding during this challenging time. While we recognize that the thought of treated wastewater going into our rivers is disconcerting, we are grateful that residents downstream fully understood that the liquid discharge into the rivers was thoroughly cleaned, treated, and continuously tested, and did not adversely affect the quality of water in the Nicola River, nor pose any health and safety risk to any resident or animal.
Special thanks go out to all staff members, consultants, and community members who helped make our recovery process possible. It is people like that who help make Merritt a great place to live, work, and play.