Environment Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy
Departmental Website Component:
Section IV of the 2011–2012 Report on Plans and Priorities


3. Description of Environment Canada’s Activities Supporting FSDS Themes I, II and II


Theme II: Maintaining Water Quality Availability


Goal 3: Water Quality
Target 3.7: Fresh Water Quality – Reduce risks associated with wastewater effluent by 2020 in collaboration with provinces and territories
 
FSDS Implementation Strategies Further Details on This Implementation Strategy Alignment with the 2011–2012 Program Activity Architecture (PAA)
3.7.1
Work collaboratively with provinces to conduct and disseminate research on wastewater effluent. (EC)
The Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment’s (CCME’s) Canada-wide Strategy for the Management of Municipal Wastewater Effluent identified the need to improve science and research coordination. The CCME is proposing to establish a science and research coordination body for wastewater effluent and biosolids to track research; identify priorities for future study; and disseminate information on research results to prevent duplication and promote collaboration among researchers.

Coordinated science and research would provide a sound basis for risk management decisions and thereby contribute to Target 3.7, Fresh Water Quality Reduce risks associated with wastewater effluent by 2020.

Performance expectations:
  • establishment of the Science and Research Coordination Body;
  • development of the Canada-wide research agenda;
  • completion of the review of the federal, provincial, territorial, municipal governments and other stakeholders’ existing research agendas related to biosolids and wastewater; and
  • initiation of consultions on best mechanisms to help meet the national scientific research and information dissemination needs that are identified.
3.1 Substances and Waste Management
3.7.2
Implement the federal aspects of the CCME strategy for the management of municipal wastewater effluent in Canada through effluent regulations under the Fisheries Act and through agreements with provinces and territories by 2012. Work with the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Quebec, and Newfoundland and Labrador to complete policy analysis and research for minimum performance standards for wastewater effluent for the far north. (EC)
The proposed Wastewater Systems Effluent Regulations (WSER) were developed under the Fisheries Act and published in the Canada Gazette, Part I, for public comment in 2010. When finalized, the WSER will be the federal government’s primary instrument to implement the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment’s (CCME’s) Canada-wide Strategy (endorsed February 2009). The federal regulations will contribute to harmonizing the regulatory framework and would include a regulatory baseline with effluent quality limits equivalent to secondary wastewater treatment.

As part of implementing the CCME Strategy, bilateral agreements are to be negotiated with the provinces and Yukon to establish roles and responsibilities for the administration of the wastewater regulations. The agreements would clarify roles and responsibilities with respect to authorization officers, regulatory reporting, data exchange, compliance promotion, and inspections and enforcement activities.

The Wastewater Systems Effluent Regulations are aimed at reducing, in collaboration with the provinces, risks from the deposit of wastewater and as such contribute to Target 3.7.

Performance expectations:
  • Conduct field surveys of the selected Far North sewage treatment facilities with respect to their treatment performance and opportunities for optimization. Most of this work will focus on sewage lagoons and effluent polishing wetlands.
  • Prepare a report on the performance of monitored sewage treatment facilities, in the context of the Canadian Council of the Ministers of the Environment (CCME) strategy, and assess the feasibility of computer modelling of such facilities.
  • Publish the final regulations in the Canada Gazette, Part II, targeted by the end of spring 2011.
  • Establish bilateral administrative agreements with each province and Yukon by the end of 2012.
  • Engage stakeholders on the standards for the North by April 2012.
3.1 Substances and Waste Management
3.7.3
Ensure compliance with performance standards for higher risk wastewater effluents by 2020. (EC)
The proposed Wastewater Systems Effluent Regulations were developed under the Fisheries Act and published in the Canada Gazette, Part I, for public comment in 2010. When finalized, the Wastewater Systems Effluent Regulations will be the federal government’s primary instrument to implement the CCME’s Canada-wide Strategy (endorsed February 2009). The federal regulations will contribute to harmonizing the regulatory framework and would include a regulatory baseline with effluent quality limits equivalent to secondary wastewater treatment. For wastewater systems required to upgrade existing, or build new, infrastructure to meet the effluent quality standards, those situations posing the highest risk would be required to come into compliance by 2020.

The Wastewater Systems Effluent Regulations are aimed at reducing, in collaboration with the provinces, risks from the deposit of wastewater and as such contribute to Target 3.7.

Performance expectations
  • Publication of final regulations in the Canada Gazette, Part II, targeted for spring 2011. This will create performance measures that are applicable after 2020.
3.1 Substances and Waste Management