Ivison: If there is loose COVID cash, what better use than to stop the sewage flowing into Canada's waters

By John Ivison, Ottawa Citizen, July 3, 2020

With the rosy glow from Canada Day still fresh in the memory, Canadians can reflect with pride on the watery wonderland they call home — a pristine wilderness, bordered by three mighty oceans, that contains one-fifth of the world’s fresh water and two million lakes.

The reality is a little less pleasant on the senses.

While 90 per cent of America’s community water systems were in compliance with Environmental Protection Agency standards in 2016, 24 per cent of Canada’s wastewater systems failed to meet Environment Canada’s quality criteria.

In that year, two billion cubic metres (more than 500 billion gallons) of untreated, or under-treated, effluent was flushed into the country’s waterways. That’s enough wastewater to fill 800,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools. Worse, 85 of the 491 treatment systems that were tested, discharged effluent of “acute lethality” — designated as waste that at 100 per cent concentration would kill more than 50 per cent of rainbow trout exposed to it during a 96-hour period.


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