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Manitoba to tighten hog-industry regulation, require replacement of treatment plant to protect Lake Winnipeg

Province changes focus on nitrogen removal at city plant

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 2/6/2011 (2269 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

WINNIPEG - Manitoba will begin the mammoth task of cleaning up Lake Winnipeg by tightening regulations on the hog industry and requiring Winnipeg to replace its North End Sewage Treatment Plant with a full biological nutrient-removal facility.

The Selinger government will introduce legislation in the next few days that will ban hog expansion that does not use "advanced environmental practices" to protect water. It will also enshrine looming bans on winter spreading of manure in law.

Aerial photo showing algae blooms on Lake Winnipeg in 2010.

SUPPLIED PHOTO

Aerial photo showing algae blooms on Lake Winnipeg in 2010.

The government will also double funding to farmers who use best environmental practices to protect water and introduce a new tax credit to help farmers acquire new environmental technologies to treat manure responsibly.

"Our lake is at a crisis point. We can’t ignore land-use practices that are causing further damage to our watersheds," Premier Greg Selinger said in unveiling the province’s strategy for saving the lake.

The province also signalled a change in focus in its requirements of the city of Winnipeg for nutrient removal. Nitrogen removal will only be ordered if phosphorus reduction targets of 50 per cent cannot be met.

The biological nutrient-removal plant envisaged by the province would allow for the recovery of phosphorus, rather than seeing treated sewage solids wind up in landfills.

Within a year, the city will be required to produce a plan on how it will meet strict limits of pollutant removal. The plan will go to the Clean Environment Commission and the Public Utility Board to ensure ratepayers are protected, the province said.

The government, as expected, also announced that it would help restore the Netley-Libau Marsh to allow it to keep more pollutants from entering Lake Winnipeg. It will also institute more powers to protect wetlands on Crown lands and ban the rapid expansion of peat extraction from wetlands.

Selinger’s announcement followed a provincially commissioned report Tuesday that warned of dire consequences for the lake if further action was not taken.

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Updated on Thursday, June 2, 2011 at 11:46 AM CDT: Adds more information

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