Posted by: Vicki Burns | November 24, 2011

The City of Winnipeg Continuing to Pollute Lake Winnipeg

Wouldn’t you think that the city of Winnipeg being the closest large city to Lake Winnipeg and having the most residents who enjoy the lake, would make sure to do whatever it could to decrease the problem of too much phosphorus and nitrogen getting into the lake? That phosphorus and nitrogen is what is feeding the blue-green algae blooms that have become so huge they can now be seen from outer space. Until a few years ago, I would have assumed that Winnipeg was doing the best job possible but I would have been wrong.

Blue-green algae on shores of Lake Winnipeg


 In today’s Winnipeg Free Press there is an article which clearly articulates how poorly Winnipeg rates in comparison to other cities and industrial facilities across the country in terms of phosphorus being discharged into our waterways. We have the distinction of being the fourth worst phosphorus dumper in the country. Along with that distinction, our province is also home to what is considered the “sickest lake” in the world, Lake Winnipeg. This is not a coincidence. These two are connected.

From my perspective, as an advocate for the health of the lake, it is extremely frustrating that the city of Winnipeg has not demonstrated any leadership in terms of making the necessary investments in upgrading our wastewater treatment facilities. How can we expect others who are much further from the lake to do the right thing when we are not willing to lead the way.  The problems we see in Lake Winnipeg are going to get worse and those of us who live in Winnipeg bear some responsibility for not insisting that our city do the right thing as soon as possible. Everyone who lives in the Lake Winnipeg watershed (almost 1 million square kilometers) has a part to play in cleaning up our lakes but we, the citizens of Winnipeg, have the greatest part to play. Let’s get going to do our part so we can push others to do theirs.


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