Canadian Consulting Engineer

Manitoba tightens rules on fertilizers, wastewater treatment systems

December 8, 2006
By Canadian Consulting Engineer

Manitoba's Conservation Ministry is introducing much stricter regulations as the third phase in its Water Protectio...

Manitoba’s Conservation Ministry is introducing much stricter regulations as the third phase in its Water Protection Act. In an announcement on November 8, the ministry said it intends to expand the regulations on the use and application of manure to include phosphorus, a nutrient linked to algae blooms in lakes and rivers. It has also published for comment regulations to restrict the use of synthetic fertilizers. Manitoba would be the first province to regulate synthetic fertilizers.
The regulations would affect buffer zones starting in 2009. No new manure storage facilities, wastewater lagoons, confined livestock areas or septic fields will be allowed in sensitive areas.
New or upgraded municipal wastewater treatment facilities will have to meet strict new levels for reducing nutrients, especially for phosphorous.
The province is struggling to cope with its huge hog livestock industry and the waste these animal barns generate. In early November, the government ordered a temporary pause to the construction of new or expanded hog barns until a provincial water plan has gone through an independent review by the Clean Environment Commission as well as a public review.
Stan Struthers, the Conservation Minister, said: “We believe long-term action is necessary to reverse long-term damage to our waterways…. we need to know from the Clean Environment Commission and Manitobans themselves that what we’re proposing adequately addresses the sustainability of the industry over the long term.”
The regulations will close loopholes that allow some livestock companies to avoid public reviews of their proposed developments. There will be more staff to enforce the new rules.
The province also plans to put “a more robust focus” on inspecting and regulating existing septic fields and private wastewater management system. It will start with the capital region and along Lake Winnipeg.


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