Posted by: Vicki Burns | February 18, 2013

City of Winnipeg Needs to Show Leadership Before Expecting Others to Do the Right Thing

One of the most important actions needed to help Lake Winnipeg is the city of Winnipeg upgrading two of their wastewater treatment plants. The effluent coming from Winnipeg’s wastewater treatment plants is the single largest point source of phosphorus in the entire watershed. Although it is only between 5 -7 % of the phosphorus load to the lake, there is no other single point source of that magnitude. As well, 2011 emissions data from the National Pollutant Release Inventory (NP~I) show that the Winnipeg plant remained the fourth-largest phosphorus polluter of any industrial facility in Canada, behind sewage-treatment plants in Vancouver and Montreal.  There is definitely a connection between Manitoba having a lake which is considered to be the Threatened Lake of 2013 worldwide and the closest large city, Winnipeg, having the distinction of being the fourth-largest phosphorus polluter in Canada.

Algae on beach at Lake Winnipeg

Algae on beach at Lake Winnipeg

This inaction from our city may be an influence on what others in our watershed are willing to do. Recently I came across this news from the city of Moorhead in Minnesota which is a few hundred kilometres from Winnipeg. Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is requesting that Moorhead upgrade their wastewater treatment plant to decrease phosphorus emissions but the city is objecting due to the additional cost. Can you blame them when Winnipeg has put off beginning the upgrades to our plants for several years?
The solutions to Lake Winnipeg’s increasing blue-green algae blooms lie in every point source and non-point source of the phosphorus ( meaning every city, town, farm, industry, etc.) assuming responsibility for decreasing their part of the problem. Pointing fingers  won’t fix this problem unless we start by pointing the finger back at ourselves and start doing things right in our own homes and communities. I really hope we can persuade Winnipeg’s city council to hurry up and get going to do the right thing!



  1. Surely it is the Provinces’ fault for insisting STILL, that N must be removed as well. At the McCollough presentation meeting recently, it was suggested to me that the extra $s of Water taxes collected from Winnipegers should be used for building a structure / plant for removing the P from the Red River asap after entering our province from the States .That way it would be used in a constructive and useful manner.

  2. Reblogged this on Victoria Beach Shoreline Protection Association and commented:
    An interesting blog post from H2O

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: