Arctic Wastewater Research

Regions: Inuvialuit Settlement Region, Gwich'in Settlement Area, Sahtu Settlement Area, Dehcho Region, North Slave Region, South Slave Region

Tags: physical sciences, contaminants, hydrology, wastewater

Principal Investigator: Challen Urbanic, Jane (4)
Licence Number: 14856
Organization: Environment Canada
Licensed Year(s): 2012 2011 2010 2009
Issued: Feb 08, 2011

Objective(s): To assess the performance of lagoons and wetlands in the treatment of municipal wastewater in Canada's Arctic.

Project Description: The objective of this research is to assess the performance of lagoons and wetlands in the treatment of municipal wastewater in Canada's Arctic. A secondary objective is to determine the occurrence of trace contaminants in northern wastewaters.

Samples will be taken from the influent (raw sewage) and effluent (treated wastewater) select wastewater systems. Samples will be taken during the period of discharge at the wastewater system. For lagoons that discharge continuously over the summer, samples will be taken at least twice (i.e. once in the spring, once in the fall). Samples will be taken over a period of three days for each session. Samples will be shipped to laboratories in Yellowknife and Burlington for analysis of solids, organic matter, nutrients and metals. Samples will be shipped to Montreal, British Columbia and Burlington for analysis of trace contaminants.

Operational data and design information will also be collected at each site. This includes, but is not limited to: pH, dissolved oxygen levels, solids build-up, volumetric flows, dimensions of the lagoons and wetlands, temperature, years in service, etc. For lagoons that are emptied only once a year, these sites will be visited once during the annual discharge (late summer or early fall).

Members of the project team will be available to answer questions and make a presentation to interested community members and Band Councils, either formally or in a "town hall" setting. A formal letter of introduction is being sent to each community to outline the project and methodology and to request support. The community SAO, foreman or operator of the wastewater treatment system will be contacted to arrange a convenient time for sampling. The above will be invited to participate in the sampling.

For reporting purposes, communities will be identified only by a letter or number. Discussions with the Senior Administrative Officer, foreman, or operator in each community will be requested to obtain some of this information and to request assistance with the sampling. Communities will receive the sampling results from their facility, and a copy of any scientific publications arising from this work. The researchers anticipate making a presentation to update the local Band Council at the conclusion of the study. Over the course of the study, the researchers will continue to provide updates and communicate with the SAO, the foreman, or the operator of the wastewater facility.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from May 23, 2011 to October 31, 2011.