March 26, 2018
Mayor Brian Bowman
Winnipeg City Hall
510 Main Street
Winnipeg, MB R3B 1B9
Dear Mayor Bowman,
Re: City of Winnipeg’s Sewage Treatment
Hog Watch Manitoba is a coalition of concerned citizens, farmers, environmentalists and friends of animals, whose goal is to promote a hog industry in Manitoba that is both ethically and environmentally sustainable. One of the major environmental concerns is the run-off of phosphorus and nitrogen from hog lagoons and spread fields into waterways that enter our lakes and specifically Lake Winnipeg. This excess of phosphorus and nitrogen is fueling the growth of toxic blue-green algae blooms. I work with farmers making a sincere effort to minimize their run off and I really respect their efforts.
Our reason in writing to you is that the city of Winnipeg is often cited as being the reason hog producers and other rural constituents are not willing to alter their practices to reduce the run-off of phosphorus and nitrogen. They always raise the issue of the city’s lack of action on reducing nutrients in the city’s sewage treatment. Currently it is our understanding that the city is often releasing 5 to 6 times the amount of phosphorus in its wastewater effluent as is required under the Environment Act.
Although the Lake Winnipeg watershed is massive and traverses 4 provinces as well as touching on 4 states, the city of Winnipeg is the single largest point source of phosphorus to Lake Winnipeg. The effluent from the city’s sewage treatment causes the section of the Red River between St. Norbert and Selkirk to be considered a “phosphorus hot spot”.
We know that the health of Lake Winnipeg is not improving. The amount of phosphorus entering the lake has not decreased over the past decade and the accumulation in the sediments of the lake is increasing which makes the recovery period longer. We understand that the blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) contain toxins that are life threatening to animals and humans.
Members of Hog Watch Manitoba would like to understand the current status of the South End and North End Pollution Plant upgrades. Are you able to let us know whether work has started on these 2 facilities and when the work is expected to be completed? This information would help us greatly when we’re making presentations to rural constituents.
Janine G. Gibson
Hog Watch Manitoba Secretary
Box 689 Steinbach, Manitoba R5G 1 M5