sewage treatment


Call to action:

We need your help. Tell Manitoba’s minister of Environment and Climate Change to accelerate phosphorus compliance at Winnipeg’s north end sewage treatment plant.

Winnipeg’s North End Water Pollution Control Centre (NEWPCC) is the city’s largest sewage treatment plant and the single-largest point source of phosphorus to Lake Winnipeg

Manitoba’s government first set the conditions of NEWPCC’s operating licence in 2005 – among them, a requirement that the total phosphorus concentration in the plant’s wastewater effluent not exceed 1 mg/L. To date, NEWPCC remains non-compliant with this limit – and two provincial deadlines to achieve compliance have been missed.

Proven, cost-effective and efficient solutions to meet phosphorus limits for sewage effluent have already been implemented in jurisdictions across North America.

Together with our members, we continue to advocate for accelerated phosphorus compliance at Winnipeg’s north end sewage treatment plant as a priority infrastructure upgrade.

Annual average phosphorus concentration in NEWPCC effluent

NEWPCC phosphorus concentrations (mg/L) have consistently exceeded the provincial licence limit since public reporting began

Phosphorus limit of 1.0 mg/L specified in NEWPCC provincial operating license

First missed NEWPCC compliance deadline: Dec. 31, 2014

Second missed NEWPCC compliance deadline: Dec. 31, 2019

Our collective advocacy is having an impact.

A chemical phosphorus-reduction system based on a design first proposed by LWF and our partners in 2019 is now under construction at NEWPCC. This system uses a chemical called ferric chloride to bind to phosphorus and settle out of the liquid waste. The chemical system is projected by the city to reduce the average phosphorus concentration in NEWPCC effluent from 4.5 mg/L to 2.5 mg/L – and already seems to be outperforming these projections.

The resulting solid waste generated by chemical phosphorus reduction requires increased biosolids digester capacity for effective treatment. A new biosolids facility at NEWPCC is the City of Winnipeg’s No. 1 infrastructure priority.

We are now urging the Manitoba’s government to use its authority as environmental regulator and take action to ensure phosphorus compliance at NEWPCC will be achieved by the province’s extended deadline of 2030.

Specifically, we are recommending that Manitoba’s government:

  • Reinforce phosphorus compliance as the primary provincial requirement for the protection of Lake Winnipeg, as articulated in Manitoba’s Water Protection Act;
  • Amend NEWPCC’s provincial operating licence to require that the provincial phosphorus limit be met through chemical phosphorus reduction as part of the new biosolids facilities project; and
  • Increase funding for biosolids facilities construction, contingent on these additional provincial funds being used to meet and sustain phosphorus compliance upon completion of these new biosolids facilities.

The provincial government has a responsibility to protect Lake Winnipeg.  We are closely monitoring progress towards phosphorus compliance at NEWPCC and will continue to hold Manitoba’s elected leaders accountable to this responsibility.

Thank you for joining us as we speak up for Lake Winnipeg. Together we are making a difference!

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Take action: Tell Manitoba’s environment minister to accelerate phosphorus compliance

Manitoba’s environment minister must accelerate phosphorus compliance at Winnipeg’s north end sewage treatment plant.

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Sign reading North End Sewage Treatment Plant

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Report: Achieving Phosphorus Compliance at Winnipeg's North End Water Pollution Control Centre

Jointly released by LWF, the Lake Winnipeg Indigenous Collective and the International Institute for Sustainable Development in advance of Winnipeg’s 2022 election, this report lays out the specific city council commitments required to achieve accelerated phosphorus compliance at Winnipeg’s North End Water Pollution Control Centre.

> read the report

Achieving Phosphorus Compliance at Winnipeg's North End Water Pollution Control Centre