Nearly $8 million for wastewater infrastructure upgrades in Manitoba will provide immediate pollution relief to the Red River and Lake Winnipeg through a new interceptor, provincial officials announced in July.
All but just $433,000 of the funding will go towards Winnipeg’s Southwest Sewer Interceptor Project, which involves creating system redundancy to direct flows to the South End Sewage Treatment Plant in the event of a siphon or lift station failure. The interceptor will provide an additional river crossing of the Red River, according to Winnipeg’s executive policy committee.
“These upgrades will provide immediate pollution relief to the Red River and Lake Winnipeg, and mitigate flood risks for many homes in Winnipeg and the surrounding area,” announced Climate Minister Kevin Klein in a statement.
The wastewater projects support the Manitoba government’s water management strategy framework, the first comprehensive plan of its kind in nearly 20 years, along with the initial water action plan, which was unveiled in early July, the minister noted.
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The sewage flow currently crosses the Red River between the Fort Garry bridges. At this location, the D’Arcy lift station raises the sewage to a sufficient height to allow it to flow by gravity under the Red River. This crossing represents a single point of failure that local officials wanted to address with the interceptor.
The interceptor project is part of the City of Winnipeg’s long-term combined sewer overflow project to build additional system capacity, and get more wastewater to the South End Sewage Treatment Plant, while reducing nutrient loading into the province’s freshwater systems.
The overall cost of the interceptor is expected to be more than $96 million, according to an estimate by Winnipeg’s executive policy committee.
The remainder of the new provincial funding will go towards risk mitigation infrastructure at the D’Arcy sewer lift station, originally constructed in 1977 and upgraded in 1998. Local councillors said they see the spending as a climate change initiative and a preventative measure. The investment will reduce the risk of overflow from the main interceptor into the Red River during extreme weather events.
“The southwest interceptor and D’Arcy lift station projects are much needed in the city’s old and new neighbourhoods in the southwest part of Winnipeg,” announced Winnipeg city councillor Brian Mayes, who chairs the city’s standing policy committee on water, waste and environment.
In 2013, Lake Winnipeg was designated the most polluted lake in Canada.