The quality of wastewater and the effects of nitrogen has been the focus of a study from the University of Regina.
In 2017 the wastewater facility received $175 million in upgrades which lead to the removal of 95% of nitrogen from the city’s wastewater.
Peter Leavitt Canada Research Chair for Environmental Changes and Society says this lead to a decline of pollution. “You saw a decline complete eliminations of toxic sign of bacteria, you saw about 50% decline in little round green things, the suspended algae in the water column which can create problems for fish growth and instead you saw a growth of species that were beneficial to the stream.”
One issue for Regina according to Leavitt is that there is not a large water body that the waste water is dumped into.” We’re releasing our waste into Wascana Creek, and Wascana Creek barely runs for most of the year, it’s not running at all past about July through til the spring, it’s just that one flush associated with snow melt. The water is moving in the creek but that is nearly 100% wastewater in many years.”
Leavitt noted that we have to be careful of what we dump into surfaces water because there is not that much of it. He added that after a century of making the water quality terrible, it will take decades to improve it. “What better conditions will look like is more oxygen in the water which allows for better fish growth, it will allow for a better production of biological diversity and that allows for once again better fish growth.”
Tests were performed before and after the upgrades to see their full impact on the wastewater facility.