Canadian Water and Wastewater Association eBulletin

Lots of hype and political discussion about the big cabinet shuffle, but it didn’t really change much for our water sector.  Minister Guilbeault stayed in Environment and Climate Change, Minister Hajdu stayed with Indigenous Services and Minister Leblanc in Public Safety. This is all good news as we have solid relationships with these ministries and are confident with their awareness of water issues. We do welcome the Honourable Mark Holland as the new Minister of Health. Most of the discussion was about how this cabinet is the one to take us to the next election, whenever that might be. However, it is not expected for quite a while yet.

Environment and Climate Change Canada recently closed consultations on proposed amendments to the Wastewater Systems Effluent Regulations. These amendments would primarily add flexibility for facilities who could not meet the deadlines for compliance, create a tiered system for transitional authorizations and make some administrative amendments.

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Niagara Falls is THE place for lovers of water this November. Join us for the NWWC 2023, November 12-15.

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Federal Initiatives

On July 26, 2023, Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, reshuffled his cabinet and eight ministers kept their portfolios. Among them were Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly, Environment and Climate Change Minister Steven Guilbeault, and Innovation, Science and Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne. Natural Resources Minister, Jonathan Wilkinson, also remained but the portfolio was renamed to include "energy and natural resources."

Many substances found in consumer chemical products, like household cleaning products, have been linked to human health hazards of concern. Health Canada is consulting on a proposal to help address the health and safety risk posed by these hazards. Comment deadline: October 9, 2023.

Since many cosmetics, cleaners and detergents end up in the municipal wastewater system, CWWA will  be following this initiative. CWWA supports policies that encourage manufacturers and consumers to include labeling or change product composition to ensure human and environmental health.

Environment and Climate Change Canada is seeking comments on an assessment of Lake Ontario’s nutrient targets under the Canada–U.S. Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. Input received will be considered in the development of a final recommendation on targets for Lake Ontario.

The Canada Infrastructure Bank was established  in 2017 as a federal Crown corporation. It aims to  ensure Canadians benefit from modern and sustainable infrastructure that is built through strategic partnerships between governments and the private sector. Its mandate is to invest and seek to attract investment from private sector and institutional investors in infrastructure projects that are in the public interest. For example, supporting conditions that foster economic growth or by contributing to the sustainability of infrastructure in Canada.

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Provincial News

On July 20, 2023, the province announced that it is providing $2 million through the BC Climate Preparedness and Adaptation Strategy to fund a one-year pilot program that will be delivered by two First Nations organizations with experience delivering environmental programs: the Coastal First Nations-Great Bear Initiative (CFN-GBI) and First Nations Emergency Services Society. The scope of the pilot program consists of three streams focused on: climate-resilience staffing; training and education delivery; and peer-to-peer network building. 

On July 25, 2023, the provincial government announced that future water and wastewater investments in Manitoba will be guided by a proposed new framework. According to the government, the Municipal Water and Wastewater Investment Framework establishes investment tiers for the province to clarify funding mechanisms, procurement approaches, and partnership opportunities for municipalities. A stakeholder engagement strategy will be incorporated into the framework to ensure clear communication with municipal, and other partners, and provide an opportunity for feedback. 

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Snippings & Clippings

Deseret News

When Terry Combs found out he might have a lead pipe in his home conveying his drinking water supply, his stress level went up.

“Am I going to have to dig up everything? Two or three years ago we had a water break in the kitchen and it was like, ‘Here we go again.’”

CBC News

The City of Hamilton will pay nearly $3 million in fines and damages for allowing 24 billion litres of sewage and stormwater to spill into Chedoke Creek.

The city said in a press release Thursday afternoon it entered a guilty plea in the Ontario Court of Justice related to charges laid by Ontario's Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) in 2020.

ES&E Magazine

A former Smiths Falls water treatment plant with two heritage designations was severely damaged in a May fire. Now, local officials of the eastern Ontario town are weighing demolition versus stabilization, which both have a “similar order of magnitude,” according to an engineering report.

ES&E Magazine

A water operator at a municipal plant in eastern Ontario — near the Quebec border — has been fined more than $5,000 for adjusting drinking water system settings that prevented the plant from communicating warnings when chlorine levels dropped too low in the winter of 2020. 

The Conversation

Most Australian food waste ends up in landfill. Rotting in the absence of oxygen produces methane, a potent greenhouse gas. While some facilities capture this “landfill gas” to produce energy, or burn it off to release carbon dioxide instead, it’s a major contributor to climate change. Valuable resources such as water and nutrients are also wasted.

ES&E Magazine

Calgary officials say the cost of reintroducing fluoride into the city’s water system has nearly tripled due to inflation and the need for infrastructure upgrades outside the initial scope of the project.

ES&E Magazine

A former water plant contractor for instrumentation and control technology has been charged with intentionally causing damage to a protected computer. The new indictment alleges that he remotely transmitted a command to uninstall critical operations software at a California water treatment facility more than a year after he worked there.

CBS News

There's now another kind of water hazard to be on the lookout for – toxic algae. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued a report finding hundreds of harmful algae blooms across the U.S. sickened people and killed animals — a problem that is likely to get worse. 

International News

Congratulations to Ava Fischer, winner of the 2023 Canadian Stockholm Junior Water Prize. Her project on “exSTREAM FUNgi: A Natural Solution to Protect Watersheds from the Effects of Urbanization” focused on the utilization of fungi native to North America that release enzymes to decompose pesticides, hydrocarbons, and harmful waste by preventing contamination from entering a watershed system at its origin.