February 28, 2005

New Kamloops plant improves local water, will serve as centre of excellence for operators

The new River Street water treatment plant, which just opened this month in Kamloops, BC, marks an important milestone for Zenon Environmental, of Oakville, Ont. Not only is it the largest water treatment facility of its kind in North America, the plant will also serve as the site for a new Centre of Excellence to provide on-site training and education for plant operators.

The Kamloops plant has a capacity of up to 160 million litres per day-roughly enough water to fill 2,000 standard swimming pools. It has been equipped with Zenon's advanced ultra-filtration membrane technology, enabling the facility to address raw water turbidity levels which had become so high that there was a greatly increased risk of a breach in water quality. In addition, the technology is designed to remove 99% per cent of viruses, bacteria, parasites and other contaminants from the South Thompson River water supply, with virtually no need for chemicals.

The patented membrane technology consists of hollow strands of porous plastic fibres with billions of microscopic pores on their surface that block impurities. Water is drawn through the pores with the use of a slight suction, much like that required when sipping liquid through a straw. What remains is pure water. This unique vacuum process makes the technology affordable for large water facilities like Kamloops.

"After more than ten years of work, the City of Kamloops is finally able to provide consistently high-quality drinking water to residents and visitors, 365 days per year," Mayor Mel Rothenburger declared.

Zenon has gone beyond merely providing the treatment technology, forming a partnership with the city of Kamloops and Thompson Rivers University to create a Centre of Excellence at the plant. The Kamloops Centre for Water Quality will provide on-site training and education for plant operators from the Kamloops region and from around the world.

The University is currently developing a water treatment technology program in which students will have access to the Centre to gain practical experience with membrane technology. The facility will also provide the opportunity for continuing research into the water conservation issue and improvements into water treatment technology.

"Water treatment technology is an emerging field. With this centre of excellence, students, plant operators and researchers from all over the world will be able to learn and benefit from Canadian expertise in this area," said Thompson Rivers University president Dr Roger Barnsley.

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