RM of Reynolds Sewage Treatment Lagoon: Protect Hazel Creek and its source wetland

RM of Reynolds Sewage Treatment Lagoon: Protect Hazel Creek and its source wetland

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Elizabeth Worden started this petition to Rural Municipality of Reynolds and

Hazel Creek is a rarity in Southern Manitoba, where so many waterways have been compromised due to agriculture and development. The creek runs clear and clean - some people still drink from it. It hosts a dizzying amount of biodiversity, with new arrivals bringing wonder every day. Countless bird and insect species, a thriving aquatic ecosystem of fish, water bugs, crayfish, turtles and apparently salamanders, and many mammals. A plant community that is vibrant and native and original to Manitoba. A diverse range of tree species. Spend 5 minutes here and Hazel Creek will have you captivated too.

Now, this creek is facing unknown and possibly serious negative effects. The RM of Reynolds is proposing to build a Truck Haul Wastewater Lagoon (Class 2 Development under Manitoba’s Environment Act; File 6100.00) ~5km NW of Hadashville. If built, the effluent will drain through natural Manitoba wetland into Hazel Creek. This wetland - another rare and protected ecosystem in Manitoba - is not designed to deal with large nutrient and water influxes from this sewage lagoon, and could be irreversibly damaged. It is the source wetland for Hazel Creek, and potential downstream effects on water quality and biodiversity have not been identified by the people proposing the project. A federally and provincially listed Endangered fish species, the Carmine Shiner, could also be living in Hazel Creek, but no fish surveys have been done to check.

Citizens are concerned that this project is being rushed, not all questions are being answered and not all options are being explored. What happens if the lagoon is drained in a very dry drought year, and the effluent stays concentrated in the waterways because they aren't flowing properly? In traditional sewage treatment lagoons, a chemical called alum is used to fix phosphorus and creates an unusable sludge that the province still hasn't developed a policy on disposing of. If the lagoon liner breaks, leaks or floods, serious pollution into the aquifer could result. In a time of a rapidly changing climate with unpredictable weather events, why create such risky problems? Other, more environmentally-friendly solutions are available, such as engineered treatment wetlands. Other RMs in Manitoba have built these, with great success. Organizations such as Ducks Unlimited are leading the way in creating greener, safer solutions in treating our waste, using the perfectly evolved technology that nature has refined over millions of years.

We want to convince the RM of Reynolds to think about the future - the future of the environment and our future generations' health - not just the easiest and cheapest route to a completed project. Hazel Creek has no dollar value assigned to it - it is priceless. It is a pristine and thriving ecosystem and it deserves to stay that way. It is our responsibility to do our very best to reduce our impact on the environment. Please sign this petition if you feel the RM of Reynolds could do better.

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