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Water Quality Standards, Objectives and Guidelines are one of many tools used to protect, maintain and where necessary, rehabilitate water quality. The Manitoba Water Quality Standards, Objectives and Guidelines (en Franšais) were updated in July 2011. The Manitoba Water Quality Standards, Objectives and Guidelines were recently enshrined in a regulation under Part Two of The Water Protection Act (en Franšais). The regulation was registered on November 28th, 2011.
The Manitoba Water Quality Standards, Objectives, and Guidelines set out water quality conditions for over 100 materials that, if not exceeded, will protect water quality for various uses including fish and other aquatic life, sources of drinking water, irrigation and livestock watering, and recreation. As necessary, Standards, Objectives, and Guidelines are incorporated into legally-binding licences issued under The Manitoba Environment Act (en Franšais).
The Manitoba Water Quality Standards now include new province-wide standards for phosphorus (1 mg/L) and where site-specific conditions warrant, nitrogen (15 mg/L). To ensure that the approach is fair and equitable, water quality standards for phosphorus and nitrogen consider the size of the nutrient load and the receiving water body.
Under the new province-wide nutrient standards, a 1 mg/L phosphorus limit applies immediately for all new, expanding or modified wastewater treatment facilities. Small wastewater treatment facilities (serving less than 2,000 people or equivalent) have the option of implementing a demonstrated nutrient reduction strategy instead of the 1 mg/L phosphorus limit.
Existing wastewater treatment facilities serving more than 2,000 people or equivalent due to industrial contributions will be required to meet a 1 mg/L phosphorus limit by January 1, 2016.
Nitrogen removal to 15 mg/L is also required on a site-specific basis for new and expanding wastewater treatment facilities serving more than 10,000 people or the equivalent load.
The goal is to apply the regulation in a fair and equitable manner that does not cause undue economic hardship while taking steps towards improving water quality. Municipalities and industry will need time to appropriately plan for change recognizing the fiscal challenges associated with water quality improvements. Extensions to the compliance timelines above will be considered where a facility owner can demonstrate that some incremental improvements to water quality will occur by the compliance deadline and that a feasible plan is in place to achieve full compliance with the nutrient standards by a specific date.
As associated Excel spreadsheet is available for download to assist with the calculations required for a number of water quality objectives.
For further information on Manitoba's Water Quality, Standards, Objectives and Guidelines please contact:
Water Stewardship Division
Water Science and Management Branch
123 Main Street, Suite 160
Winnipeg MB R3C 1A5
Telephone: (204) 945-0002
Toll Free: 1-800-282-8069 (extension 0002)
Facsimile: (204) 948-2357