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York Region to build new facility to protect Lake Simcoe from phosphorus

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Two new major investments through the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund in Ontario’s York Region will focus on protection of the water supply, treatment, and drinking water storage, as well as contributing to the construction of a new $40-million stormwater treatment facility to protect Lake Simcoe from excess phosphorus.

The new stormwater treatment facility will cut 40% of the average annual phosphorus runoff from Holland Marsh into Lake Simcoe from its current six tonnes per year, and protect the lake’s watershed from excessive algae growth, officials announced.

“We simply have to invest now in infrastructure that protects Canadians, our environment, and the biodiversity of our ecosystems,” said Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, in a statement.

Lake Simcoe is the largest inland lake in southern Ontario outside of the Great Lakes. The Lake Simcoe watershed sweeps across 3,400 square kilometres and 20 municipal bor​ders. It is home to more than 435,000 people.

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Additionally, federal and regional investments totalling $45.1 million have also been announced to boost the resilience of York Region’s water infrastructure against climate change, as its water supply is sourced from lake water and regularly impacted by extreme weather.

The investments will focus on the protection of the water supply, treatment, and drinking water storage, local officials announced. Groundwater treatment upgrades will improve the reliability and robustness of the interconnected local groundwater supply system that is located in four communities, particularly in the north of the region.

“The supply of safe, clean drinking water is one of the most important responsibilities that a municipality bears,” said Town of Newmarket Mayor John Taylor in a statement. “Climate change is presenting new challenges and opportunities to source water closer to the end user and to build our facilities to adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change,” Taylor added.

The federal funding also comes through the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund, a $2-billion, 10-year program to help communities build strong infrastructure in the face of floods, wildfires, earthquakes and droughts. To date, more than $1.8 billion has been announced through the fund for 64 large-scale infrastructure projects.

York Region’s 10-year capital water projects program can be viewed here.

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