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Canada Proposes National Wastewater Regulation

CanadianEnvironmentMinisterCanada’s Environment Minister Jim Prentice has proposed a national wastewater regulation that will set discharge standards for all wastewater facilities in Canada.

Proposed under the Fisheries Act, the new regulations are expected to reduce risks for human and environmental health and fishery resources associated with the release of wastewater effluents.

The proposed municipal wastewater systems effluent regulations will provide regulatory clarity on standards and rules on reporting for more than 4,000 Canadian wastewater facilities, and will no longer allow wastewater facilities to directly release raw sewage into the waterways. The draft is available for public consultation.

The Environment Minister made the announcement at the Maple Leaf Environmental Equipment/Filter Innovation facility in Brockville, Ontario, that provides technologies for wastewater treatment. The company manufactures Membrane-Biological-Reactor (MBR) systems for the treatment of municipal and industrial wastewater.

The MBR wastewater treatment systems already exceed the proposed new standards, according to a press release (PDF). Other benefits cited include a small footprint, reliability, and low maintenance.

MBR systems are said to be robust enough to withstand variations in operational conditions due to fluctuating sludge concentration, sludge age and organic load, which make them well-suited for wastewater treatment plants with significant seasonal or daily variations in wastewater loading.

The finalized regulations will be a key component in implementing Canada’s Strategy for the Management of Municipal Wastewater that was endorsed by the Canadian Council of Minister of the Environment (CCME) in 2009.

The Government of Canada has supported wastewater projects under the Green Infrastructure Fund and Building Canada Fund. Canada’s Economic Action Plan expanded the existing $33-billion federal investment in infrastructure with nearly $12 billion in new infrastructure stimulus funding over the past two years.

In the U.S., the Environmental Protection Agency set plans in motion last September to revise existing standards for water discharges from coal-fired power plants to reduce pollution. Once the rule is finalized, the new standards will be incorporated by EPA and states into wastewater discharge permits.

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3 thoughts on “Canada Proposes National Wastewater Regulation

  1. These proposed national standards are really just a 19th Century approach to a 21st Century issue. Why SHOULD there be national standards of “end-of-pipe” effluent, when the question is really about the very specific receiving environment? Proposing the same end-of-pipe effluent standards for the high Arctic, versus the Prairies is fraught with the chance of making a grave error. We see this most clearly in Victoria, BC, where our receiving environment is a large, swift-moving marine body of water very adequately disperses and then degrades our raw screened sewage effluent. There is NO reason to waste a billion dollars constructing a sewage plant mega-scheme, nor waste several millions annually, when our present system works reasonably well. In fact, the environmental impacts of the sewage plant project will very likely be much worse than our present system. For the facts: http://www.rstv.ca and http://www.aresst.ca

  2. How can we still think that it’s okay to dump raw sewage into the oceans? This regulation is long overdue! Why did we not take our provincial and municipal politicians to task and have to wait for the federal govenment to step up to the plate?? Good work Minister Prentice!

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