April 5, 2020

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City asks province for extension on phosphorous discharge limit deadline

The north end treatment plant handles 65 per cent of wastewater generated and needs $1.8-billion worth of upgrades ordered by the Manitoba Clean Environment Commission.</p>

The north end treatment plant handles 65 per cent of wastewater generated and needs $1.8-billion worth of upgrades ordered by the Manitoba Clean Environment Commission.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 5/9/2019 (213 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The City of Winnipeg water and waste department has told the province it needs two more years to comply with limits on the amount of phosphorus released in municipal wastewater via the Red River that ends up in Lake Winnipeg.

On July 30, it submitted a notice of alteration to Manitoba Sustainable Development saying it couldn’t meet the Dec. 31 deadline to comply with its licence, which limits the amount of phosphorus to one milligram per litre.

"The province knew we weren’t going to make that date," department director Moira Geer said Thursday at the water and waste committee meeting.

"They asked, ‘What date can you make and what can you do in the interim?’"

The department notified the province it needs until Dec. 31, 2021, to get its wastewater house in order.

Excess phosphorus, a nutrient that promotes plant growth, is linked to potentially toxic algae blooms on Lake Winnipeg.

The city is responsible for just three to five per cent of the phosphorous that ends up in Lake Winnipeg.

Its north end sewage plant handles 65 per cent of wastewater generated and needs $1.8 billion worth of upgrades ordered by the Manitoba Clean Environment Commission.

The project involves upgrading the Main Street facility to comply with provincial environmental regulations, including limits on effluent

emissions into the Red River for nitrogen and phosphorus and the construction of a new facility to treat sludge from the city’s three sewage treatment plants.

The new discharge limits were to go into effect in 2014, but city hall had obtained an extension until December 2019.

"These are really complex processes — we need time to determine what we can do," Geer said.

carol.sanders@freepress

Carol Sanders

Carol Sanders
Reporter

Carol Sanders’ reporting on newcomers to Canada has made international headlines, earned national recognition but most importantly it’s shared the local stories of the growing diversity of people calling Manitoba home.

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