As the list of chemicals we generate as a society grows and expands, many find their way into wastewater and ultimately into our natural ecosystems. Some of these substances are contaminants that can be harmful to human health, fish and wildlife, and to Canada’s waterways. To put into clearer context the ability and opportunities to deal with wastewater contaminants in Canada, Canadian Water Network (CWN) will lead a national review of known and emerging contaminants in municipal wastewater and our options to deal with them.  This work is being supported by a $400,000 contribution agreement from Environment and Climate Change Canada. The project will leverage CWN’s extensive network of research and practitioner communities to consider the following critical questions:

  • Which wastewater contaminants do we need to worry about most, now and in the future?
  • What are the options for our diverse Canadian communities to address these contaminants through wastewater treatment?
  • What are the important opportunities and trade-offs involved in those treatment choices, including resource recovery, costs, implications for related issues like greenhouse gas emissions, and socio-economic and cultural fit?

An expert advisory panel of national leaders, chaired by Dr. Donald S. Mavinic of UBC, will frame and assess the leading knowledge, practice and priorities in municipal wastewater treatment in Canada. The panel’s work will be augmented by other experts from across the country with knowledge of municipal wastewater practice, environmental impacts and assessments associated with wastewater, and legal and community perspectives. The project will culminate in a synthesis report that delivers critical insights to guide, inform and empower decision makers and stakeholders to choose the most effective wastewater treatment investments.

“Canada has tremendous strengths when it comes to both science and technologies for understanding our aquatic environment and treatment technologies to protect it. Canadian Water Network is dedicated to ensuring that decisions about the best actions and treatment investments to protect our water resources are informed by this collective expertise. By providing the most important insights that science can deliver to our decisions, our national knowledge base can help Canadians achieve our goals for water and the environment.”

– Bernadette Conant, CEO, Canadian Water Network

Project Timeline:

October 2017

Establish a national expert advisory panel with a strong collective understanding of both the knowledge and practice base in the area of wastewater treatment and impacts to guide the process and report development.

November 2017 – February 2018

Inform and augment expert advisory panel’s work by gathering information and case studies from other experts across Canada, using surveys and a series of regional workshops.

March 2018

Deliver a synthesis report that captures and reports the findings of the work of the expert panel.
The information from this report will be targeted to enabling use by practitioners, the public and all levels of government to inform future practices, policies, and investment decisions.

This project was undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada through the federal Department of Environment and Climate Change.

Ce projet a été realisé avec l’appui financier du gouvernement du Canada agissant part l’entreprise du ministère fédérale de l’Environnement et du Changement climactique.