Our drinking water comes from three sources; Capilano, Seymour and Coquitlam Reservoirs. Drinking water from both Seymour and Capilano are treated at the Seymour-Capilano Filtration Plant, operating since 2009. Drinking water from Coquitlam is treated at the Coquitlam Water Treatment Plant, operating with ozone since 2000, and the UV facility since 2014.
Our Drinking Water Treatment Facilities
Metro Vancouver owns and operates two modern world-class drinking water treatment facilities.
- Seymour-Capilano Filtration Plant (SCFP)
- Coquitlam Water Treatment Plant (CWTP)
These facilities ensure our drinking water is clean, safe and high quality now and for future generations. Find out more in this two minute film clip.
In addition to the treatment facilities, a major infrastructure component is the underground twin tunnels, which carry water between the Capilano and Seymour water sources, so that water from both is treated at the Seymour-Capilano Filtration Plant.
Seymour-Capilano Filtration Plant (SCFP)
This plant, located in the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve, is the largest drinking water filtration plant in Canada. Operating since 2009, it can treat up to 1.8 billion litres per day. The main drinking water treatment processes are filtration and UV. The building is LEED gold and includes EcoSmart Concrete, generates low CO2 emissions and uses less energy and water.
How does one plant treat water from two sources? Underground tunnels transport water over 7 kilometers from the Capilano Reservoir to this filtration plant, so that water from both Seymour and Capilano can be treated at one facility. Read more
Coquitlam Water Treatment Plant
This facility is located north of the City of Coquitlam. It treats about 380 million litres of drinking water each day. The main drinking water treatment processes are ozonation (since 2000) and UV (since 2014). The UV building is designed to target LEED silver designation and includes green roofs, offers enhanced salmon habitat, generates its own heat and the UV technology uses 30% less energy than conventional water treatment processes.
Why does this treatment plant use ozone, when the treatment plant on the North Shore uses filtration and UV? Each plant is designed specifically to treat the water it receives. The North Shore Watersheds are steep and during heavy rain soil is washed into the reservoir (erosion). Filtration is the most effective treatment process to remove these particles. Coquitlam Watershedis of different geology and the water is more clear even during heavy rain events – ozone and UV provide excellent water treatment for this souce.
Seymour Capilano Twin Tunnels
Two tunnels beneath Grouse Mountain and Mount Fromme allow for water from the Capilano Reservoir to be treated at the Seymour-Capilano Filtration Plant. Each of the Twin Tunnels are 3.8 metres in diameter, 7.1 kilometres long and 160 to 640 metres below ground level.
Learn more about the twin tunnels.
Urban drinking water treatment facilities
Other treatment and storage facilities are less obvious than the two large treatment facilities above. Some examples follow. Find out more in this brief film clip.
- 15 water pumping stations move water around the region (up hills, across rivers etc).
- Eight rechlorination stations boost chlorine levels as water moves away from the primary treatment plants, ensuring it meets all quality standards even when it travels to homes far from the reservoirs and major treatment facilities.
- Over 20 in-system reservoirs store water at high points in the region. These refill overnight, so that enough water is available during high water demand times like early morning when many residents shower, flush toilets, prepare meals and businesses start operating. One example is the Little Mountain Reservoir in the hill of Queen Elizabeth Park in Vancouver.
- Over 500 km of water mains ranging from 35 centimeters to 3 metres diameter
Municipal Drinking Water Infrastructure
Metro Vancouver manages the protected watersheds and storage reservoirs, owns and operates major treatment facilities and additional infrastructure to move water into the individual municipalities. From there water is conveyed to individual homes and businesses via municipally owned and operated infrastructure. In addition to the facilities Metro Vancouver operates, your municipality also operates urban reservoirs, a network of underground pipes and other infrastructure. Your municipality also collects water samples for quality control.
Metro Vancouver’s Drinking Water Management Plan
This plan published in 2011 explains the direction and priorities for drinking water in this region. Find out more about how your drinking water is treated, and current priorities, on page ten.