Archive for Water Quality

Birds a key cause of fecal contamination at Lake Winnipeg beaches

Aug. 8, CBC News:

Eight beaches in Manitoba have permanent advisories for the summer after testing positive for fecal contamination — and birds flying overhead could be partly to blame.

Summer-long warnings are in effect at Hnausa Beach, Spruce Sands Beach, Sandy Hook Beach, Winnipeg Beach, Milne Beach, West Grand Beach, East Grand Beach and Gimli Beach after tests showed a spike in Escherichia coli (E. coli) in July and August well above the threshold considered optimal for swimming water.

“What we found on Lake Winnipeg is E. coli is really driven by the wind and wave processes on the water,” said Elaine Page, manager of the water quality management section with Manitoba Sustainable Development. Read more.

City weighing options on how to deal with sewer overflow problem

Aug. 5, Winnipeg Sun:

Combined sewer overflows dumped another 9.2 billion litres of diluted sewage into Winnipeg rivers last year.

And those lobbying to clean up the endangered Lake Winnipeg say action to stop those spills must happen now.

“It’s very, very concerning because every time there is a combined sewer overflow that means more phosphorous and nitrogen getting into the river and up into Lake Winnipeg. The phosphorous can get deposited in the sediments of the lake and be available in future years,” said Vicki Burns, director of the Save Lake Winnipeg Project. “So, the longer we wait to correct this problem, the harder it’s going to be to fix it.” Read more.

Warnings issued for beaches around Manitoba

July 28, CTV News:

The province sent out a warning Thursday evening about algae and elevated levels of E. coli at some Manitoba beaches.

A water sample taken at West Grand Beach showed levels of E. coli in the water exceeded provincial guidelines.

Algae advisories have also been posted for the Rivers Reservoir, Killarney Lake, and Pelican Lake near Ninette and Pleasant Valley.

Beachgoers are advised to avoid contact with green algae, swallowing lake water, swimming with an open cut or wound, and eating fish from the lake that appear unhealthy. Read more.

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.