Interim plan proposed to protect Lake Winnipeg from ‘constant dripping tap’ of nutrients from treatment plant

March 22, 2019 – CBC News

Water scientists and activists are urging the City of Winnipeg to adopt a new treatment technique at its largest water treatment centre as a stopgap measure to protect Lake Winnipeg, while the city works toward $1.8 billion in upgrades promised down the line.

Officials from the International Institute for Sustainable Development and the Lake Winnipeg Foundation said the projected timeline for upgrades to the North End Water Pollution Control Centre will be too slow to reduce the flow of nutrients into the lake from Winnipeg.

“This is a constant dripping tap,” said Dimple Roy, director of water management at the institute.

“We’re releasing 600 kilograms of phosphorus every single day out of the North End treatment plant. And given current timelines of the full upgrade, we’re going to be seeing these kinds of loads for the next 10 more years.” READ MORE.

Minnesota study raises concerns about Red River, Lake Winnipeg water quality

February 27, 2019 – CTV News

The deterioration of water quality in the U.S. portion of the Red River is taking a toll on Lake Winnipeg as well as fish and aquatic insects downstream from the Red’s headwaters, according to a new report released by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

The study looked at fish and insect communities in the Red River near Breckenridge, MN north to the Canadian border.

It found there is too much sediment in places due to increased runoff which can make it more difficult for fish to find food, detect predators and reproduce.

“Climate changes have led to more rain and more storms,” the report states. “More drainage, through ditches and more recently subsurface tiling, brings much more water into the Red River.”

“Drainage increases the peak flows and intensifies the low flows. These fluctuations are hard on fish and other aquatic life. Generally speaking, fish and aquatic insect communities are doing reasonably well, but decline as you go downstream.” READ MORE.

Teens band together to help Shoal Lake

February 27, 2019 – The Winnipeg Free Press

The simple act of turning on a tap to get a cool glass of water was enough to fire up Meg Boehm and Eric Jasysyn’s idea for change.

The two students from the Seven Oaks Met School are hosting a benefit concert and fashion show Friday at 7 p.m. at the Seven Oaks Performing Arts Centre to join forces with the community of Shoal Lake 40 First Nation to get clean drinking water in every home.

Shoal Lake 40, located about 200 kilometres east of Winnipeg on the Manitoba-Ontario border, is the source for Winnipeg’s drinking water, but the community itself doesn’t have a water treatment plant and has been under a boil-water advisory since 1997.

Boehm and Jasysyn are mobilizing forces and resources, from their peers right up to government leaders, with their eyes on one prize: getting construction started on a long-needed water treatment plant in the community. READ MORE.

Red River’s red flags: sediment threatens fish

February 27, 2019 – The Winnipeg Free Press

The Red River is not the greatest home for fish and more can be done to make it better, Minnesota’s first comprehensive study of river water quality and fish and insect communities says.

The study, produced by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, says the Red River, which forms the border between that U.S. state and North Dakota, has places where there is so much sediment in the water, it makes it hard for fish “to find food, detect predators and reproduce in cloudy water.”

As well, the study found fish can’t go into some areas because of high bacteria counts, and levels of both phosphorus and nitrogen are increasing.

“Generally speaking, fish and aquatic insect communities are doing reasonably well, but decline as you go downstream,” the study says. “The high nutrient levels contribute to the severe algae downstream in Lake Winnipeg on the Canadian side of the basin.” READ MORE