Environment to benefit from advocacy by Town of Ajax


    TORONTO, March 23 /CNW/ - As a direct result of due diligence by the Town
of Ajax and concerned environmental groups,the Duffins Creek Water Pollution
Control Plant Expansion (also known as the Big Pipe project)will be subject to
additional emission controls, project design and operational requirements.
    In making her decision, the Honourable Laurel Broten, Minister of the
Environment, agreed with the Town that there remain outstanding concerns not
addressed in the original Environmental study Report (ESR) filed by the
Regions (York and Durham) with respect to odour impacts and the feasibility of
extending the end of the pipe further into Lake Ontario (currently one km).
    "Despite not ordering an Individual Environmental Assessment (EA), the
list of conditions is very comprehensive," said Mayor Steve Parish. "The new
conditions the Minister is imposing, including the immediate commencement of
an EA to address the limitations of the existing outfall/diffuser, clearly
signal that further studies and assessment are needed to address key
environmental concerns and the impacts of such a large-scale project."
    "The Town will work with the Regions to ensure the project is implemented
in accordance with the Minister's order," added Mayor Parish.
    The Town has been working with the Regions since November 2005. The
following chart highlights some of the many changes that have resulted from
the Town's involvement:

    Environmental Study Report (ESR)     Minister's Order
    Regions requested that the WPCP      Regions must not operate the WPCP
    operate at a rated capacity of       at a rated capacity above 520 MLD.
    630 million litres per day (MLD).    No approval to operate above
                                         540 MLD will be granted until the
                                         outfall EA is complete.
    Regions requested continued use      Revised to achieve an objective
    of an effluent compliance limit      of 0.6 mg/L within a compliance
    for phosphorus of 1 milligram        limit of 0.8 mg/L for phosphorus.
    per litre (mg/L).
    No commitment to conduct an EA to    Regions must initiate a new EA
    expand the WPCP outfall/diffuser     within six weeks of obtaining
    further into Lake Ontario to avoid   all approvals for the WPCP
    nearshore contamination.             expansion and provide a
                                         comprehensive timeline for
                                         this EA process. Construction
                                         of the preferred outcome of
                                         the EA must begin within one
                                         year of necessary approvals.
    Regions requested continued use      Revised limit on phosphorus
    of the existing limit of             loading during the interim
    420 kilograms of phosphorus          period, prior to outfall
    per day.                             extension, to a maximum
                                         average of 311 kg/day on an
                                         annual basis, although the
                                         phosphorus loading compliance
                                         limit will remain 420 kg/day.

                                         Regions have committed to take
                                         part in a number of initiatives
                                         to help manage phosphorus and algae.
    No comprehensive odour               Within six months of this
    assessment/plan.                     decision, the Regions shall
                                         design and implement a revised
                                         approach regarding monitoring,
                                         evaluating and controlling
                                         emissions from the WPCP,
                                         including a revised odour
                                         management plan and an odour
                                         complaint log.

    "From the start, our objective was to protect the interests of Ajax
residents and to ensure that our waterfront, including water quality located
close to the WPCP and its outfall, will be better protected for decades to
come," said Mayor Parish. "This will only happen by raising regulatory
standards and setting new standards that benefit our environment. I'm
confident that the new EA for the outfall extension will yield significant
improvements to local water quality."
    The WPCP is located on the border of Pickering and Ajax and is expected
to handle sewage from up to 1.3 million people in both York and Durham
    In addition to addressing environmental issues associated with the WPCP,
the Town is developing a five year plan to implement measures that will
effectively treat storm runoff from Ajax lands before it enters Lake Ontario
and curb potential local sources of contaminants. The first step is to
complete detailed monitoring and analyses of Duffins Creek, Carruthers Creek
and the Lake Ontario shoreline which is currently being conducted by the Town,
Region of Durham and the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA). The
objective of the program is to conduct and assess appropriate samples,
identify sources of contaminants, and determine effective treatment measures.

For further information:

For further information: Christie McLardie, Manager of Communications,
(905) 619-2529, ext. 362 or (905) 999-8254

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