Portage la Prairie tests systems to remove phosphorus, nitrogen from Lake Winnipeg
Beth Macdonell, CTV Winnipeg
Published Thursday, June 26, 2014 2:22PM CST
Last Updated Thursday, June 26, 2014 5:55PM CST
Portage La Prairie is testing out two systems to take out polluting nutrients from the Lake Winnipeg watershed.
One made by Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies recovers up to 85 per cent of the phosphorus and 25 per cent of nitrogen out of the waste water and converts it into non-water-soluble fertilizer.
The other project underway, by Veolia Water, takes out a large percentage of nitrogen. It uses bacteria that digests the nitrogen but does make fertilizer.
Both projects are being tested for six months at a cost of $200,000.
In 2011, the Manitoba government set guideline to reduce the nutrients of phosphorus and nitrogen to improve water quality.
In abundance, the nutrients cause algae blooms that threaten the health of water systems and pose a health risk to living organisms.
Ostara said the city of Portage La Prairie can sell the fertilizer and use it as way to cover operating costs of the waste water treatment facility.
The Lake Winnipeg Foundation also weighed in on the testing.
“Innovative biological technologies to help manage nutrient loads – like the one currently being tested in Portage la Prairie – have the potential to remove algae-causing phosphorus from our water in a way that will allow municipalities to collect it as part of the treatment process. This allows phosphorus to be used as fertilizer in Manitoba or elsewhere,” said Marlo Campbell, co-interim executive director, of the Lake Winnipeg Foundation, in a statement.
Environmental groups are excited.
"What we are recognizing is that phosphorus is also a very valuable and strategic resource and it's irreplaceable. If we run out of phosphorus and, some people say we may (do so), there's no substitute," said Hank Venema with the International Institute for Sustainable Development.
The group it's the best science they've seen to reduce the amount of phosphorus harming the Lake Winnipeg watershed, and every bit helps.