Archive for Water Quality

Municipality has concerns over changes to ammonia levels in Lake Winnipeg

July 10, National Post:

The City of Winnipeg is having discussions with the province about the possibility of loosening environmental restrictions related to $795 million in upgrades for the North End Wastewater Pollution Control Centre.

And that’s got the mayor of the Rural Municipality of Gimli worried.

Randy Woroniuk says he’s concerned that a compromise could spark irreversible damage to Lake Winnipeg.

Right now rules mandate a hard cap on the level of ammonia that can be discharged daily.

Winnipeg finance chair Scott Gillingham says if that was changed to a rolling monthly average, it could save Winnipeg taxpayers $30 million.

However, Woroniuk says any increase in ammonia could cause more toxic algae blooms to form, damaging the lake and the local economy.

“The people in Winnipeg making this decision, these are your constituents that are coming to recreate at our beach,” he says. “So you’re going to ruin their recreational possibilities, because you don’t want to raise taxes for them.” Read more.

E. coli prompts warning at Manitoba’s Gimli Beach

July 8, CBC News:

Manitoba’s busy Gimli Beach is under an E. coli advisory following a July 6 test.

An advisory has been posted to warn swimmers at the popular Lake Winnipeg beach.

The acceptable amount is 200 colony-forming units, or CFU, of E. coli per 100 millilitres; this week’s test found 322 CFU.

To reduce the risk of illness, the province is advising swimmers to avoid swallowing water, wash hands after swimming and avoid swimming with an open wound or if you’re sick.

If the water is high, or if there are strong north winds — conditions that may wash bacteria from the sand into the water — people are asked to reconsider taking a dip at all.

A test July 4 showed only 39 CFU per 100 millilitres, well within accepted guidelines.

Meanwhile, an algal bloom more than seven times the acceptable level has resulted in an advisory for Shoal Lake Beach. Read more.

Winnipeg lobbies province for wastewater licence change that would send more pollution to lake

July 6, CBC News:

More pollutants could flow into the Red River at certain times of the year if the province agrees with a city request to loosen the rules to save millions of dollars on upgrades to the city’s largest sewage treatment plant.

Coun. Scott Gillingham told reporters Thursday the city’s chief administrative officer has been in talks with the province about loosening the environmental licence for the North End sewage-treatment plant upgrades to allow it to exude wastewater effluent — specifically ammonia — at a rolling average level rather than a hard cap on how much can be released at a given time.

“It would allow us to continue to protect the environment, but also could save the citizens of Winnipeg tens of millions of dollars,” the city’s finance chair said.

Gillingham said if the province allows the city to emit an average over time, Winnipeg would be off the hook for as much as $30 million in construction and design costs for the upgrade. Read more.

Gov’t takes steps to reduce Man. hog sector red tape

June 29, The Western Producer (Editorial)

The Manitoba government’s Red Tape Reduction and Government Efficiency Act is a welcome action to allow hog farmers an opportunity to grow.

The previous government had imposed regulations regarding barn construction and manure management that amounted to a moratorium on new barn construction.

The Progressive Conservative government that was elected a year ago has already ended the onerous building code requirements, putting them now on par with agricultural building codes in other provinces.

The red tape cutting legislation that is expected to pass this fall will end costly requirements for anaerobic digester manure treatments that were another nearly insurmountable impediment to hog barn construction. Read more.