Canada’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.