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New provincial infrastructure funding must prioritize Winnipeg sewage treatment

On May 7, Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister announced a plan to increase provincial infrastructure investment by $500 million through the Manitoba Restart Program. The goal is to stimulate the economy as Manitoba deals with the effects of the pandemic.

Specific projects will be identified in the coming weeks. However, water and sewage projects and municipal infrastructure priorities were among those mentioned in a list of targeted fields.

LWF is urging the provincial government to prioritize much-needed upgrades to Winnipeg’s North End Water Pollution Control Centre (NEWPCC). You can read our letter to Premier Pallister on our Resources for Citizens page.

The NEWPCC is the city’s largest sewage treatment plant and is the largest point source of algae-causing phosphorus to Lake Winnipeg. Currently, it is not compliant with the phosphorus requirements of its provincial operating licence.

Upgrades to the treatment plant are a recognized priority of both Winnipeg’s City Council and its citizens. In particular, a new biosolids treatment facility at the plant is identified as the single most important infrastructure project in the City of Winnipeg 2020 Infrastructure Plan.

For the past two years, LWF and our partners at the International Institute for Sustainable Development have been advocating for the immediate implementation of cost-effective, interim phosphorus-removal technology at the NEWPCC. Limited biosolids capacity is currently a barrier to phosphorus removal at the plant; the construction of new biosolids facilities will enable the plant to meet provincial licence limits and, ultimately, improve the health of Lake Winnipeg.

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