Posted by: Vicki Burns | February 16, 2016

Sewage Lagoon in Flood Zone? Assiniboine River and Lake Winnipeg Ultimate Recipients

In the past few weeks I have been made aware of a proposed new sewage lagoon in the Rural Municipality of Cartier near St. Francois-Xavier. The proposed lagoon is very close to the Assiniboine River, situated in a designated flood zone between roads 424 on one side of the river and 26 on the other side. The effluent from the lagoon will be discharged twice annually via a 135 meter long drain into the Assiniboine River (135 meters is .135 of a kilometre or .08 of a mile).

In fairness the sewage will be held in a 2 cell lagoon and is not to be discharged until it has met certain environmental standards established by the Manitoba government. As well it apparently will be quite an improvement over the current sewage lagoon in this particular situation. However even without the very real threat of flooding that has occurred in the Assiniboine River Basin in the past 5 years, this lagoon’s discharge is too close to the river to allow much filtering of nutrients and other pollutants before it enters the Assiniboine River. If one were to consider the merits of this new lagoon as if it were the only one to flush into the Assiniboine River, than it might be conceivable to allow it to happen. But it is important to note that there are hundreds of lagoons emptying into this one river so we need to consider the cumulative impacts of treating our sewage in this manner. All of this sewage is providing much phosphorus that feeds the blue-green algae blooms, some of which contain toxins.

In this day and age, when we are aware of the negative impacts of minimal treatment of our sewage on our rivers and lakes, it does amaze me that government is considering allowing this to go ahead. There are much more effective options for progressive treatment of human sewage and if we continue to allow this type of approach, then we are simply paying lip service to the goal of saving Lake Winnipeg.


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