Minister orders Regions to prepare phosphorus reduction plan for Duffins Creek WPCP

Posted on Tuesday May 03, 2016

Minister orders Regions to prepare phosphorus reduction plan for Duffins Creek WPCP

Town maintains phosphorus management key to eliminating algae plaguing Ajax waterfront  

The Town is applauding the Minister of Environment and Climate Change in a staff report released today for ordering the Regions of York and Durham to prepare a Phosphorus Reduction Action Plan (PRAP) over the next nine months for the Duffins Creek Water Pollution Control Plant (WPCP).

Minister Glenn Murray issued the three-page Order for further study on April 4, 2016 to all 90 Part II Order requesters who have been eagerly awaiting a decision from the Minster since February 2014 on the Duffins Creek WPCP Outfall Class Environmental Assessment. The outcomes of the PRAP will inform the Minister’s final decision on the Part II Order requests. 

The Order is an important first step in recognizing the role of the WPCP in causing excessive algae growth along the Ajax nearshore. The Order also shows a willingness by the Minister to consider options to optimize the WPCP operations to protect the Town’s waterfront. 

One of the main requirements of the PRAP is to determine how phosphorus in the WPCP effluent can be reduced to the lowest achievable level for both current and future operating considerations. The Town has been studying this issue for the last three years, and has identified a preferred phosphorus removal technology (ballasted flocculation) that would eliminate the algae problem. The Town hopes this technology will be part of the PRAP assessment.  

Based on the Town’s scientific research, the amount of phosphorus in the WPCP effluent should not exceed 0.084 mgTP/L. This target is consistent with the level being required by the Minister for the Region of York at the proposed water reclamation plant being considered for the Upper York Sewage Solutions service area. The Town views the proposed target of 0.35 mgTP/L in the Minister’s Order as a short-term goal that will not improve the current algae problem. 

The Town is requesting the opportunity to participate in the PRAP. Should the Regions be receptive to this partnership request, the Town would be seeking a mutually agreed upon terms of reference to guide the PRAP. The Town is looking forward to finding and implementing a solution to the algae growth along the Ajax waterfront.

In addition to the Minister’s Order, the report summarizes the progressive phosphorus-algae scientific work undertaken by Dr. Martin Auer and his Michigan Technological University team on behalf of the Town. The new findings are now the subject of several published scientific papers. The full report, Minister’s Order and scientific papers are available at www.ajax.ca/wpcp. The report will be discussed by Council at the Town’s upcoming General Government Committee meeting on May 9, 2016.

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Media Contact: Christie McLardie, Manager of Strategic Communications, 905-999-8254