For Immediate Release... September 21, 2021
Brandon University Scientist and Environmentalists Urge Manitoba
Government to Protect Groundwater Drinking Sources
A recent freedom of information request reveals that 57% of manure
facilities that have installed groundwater-monitoring systems show
confirm the fears of many rural citizens that many of these
structures are contaminating groundwater in a serious way",
comments Dr. Bill
Paton of the Brandon University, who has analyzed the data.
The results corroborate an unreleased study of Manitoba's groundwater
inaugurated in 1999. The Manitoba Rural Groundwater Quality Initiative,
included data from approximately 1000 wells sampled randomly across
Manitoba, reveals that 43% of the wells exceeded the Canadian Drinking
Quality Guideline of zero total coliform organisms detectable per 100
same study indicates that 16% of the private wells sampled exceeded
guideline of 10 mg/L for nitrate.
Manitoba has embarked on a consultative process to develop a regulation
the new Water Protection Act to develop water quality management zones
nutrients. The intent of the regulation is to decrease nutrient loading
with the government that priority should be placed on nutrient
reduction and saving Lake Winnipeg, but not at the expense of protecting
citizens drinking water", says Glen Koroluk, environmental researcher.
" resources are required to both protect groundwater drinking sources
nutrients entering Lake Winnipeg."
Both Dr. Paton and Mr. Koroluk are calling on the Manitoba Government
measures that protect groundwater when they develop water quality management
zones. "And in the interest of public health, we strongly advise
notify those families who live in close proximity to manure storage
to have their wells tested. Furthermore, we urge citizens who live
feedlots, municipal lagoons and landfill sites to test their groundwater
Dr. Paton and Mr. Koroluk will be available for comment Thursday, September
Dr. Bill Paton, Professor of Botany/Biology, Brandon University 1-204-727-9783
or 1-204-761-4766 cell
Glen Koroluk, Environmental Researcher, Winnipeg 224-0933 or 981-1861
Among many citizens of rural communities on the Prairies, earthen
storage structures have attracted widespread concern about their potential
groundwater contamination. These concerns have been severely downplayed
industry and government regulators. Other than research sponsored by
independent studies have been limited. An interim report published
Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, July 2000, identified that
2 of 5
manure storage lagoons studied had severe to moderate seepage and contaminant
movement in the underlying groundwater. An Iowa State study of 34 permitted
lagoons, found that earthen storage structures associated with concentrated
animal feeding operations posed serious risk to the water resource.
Dr. Paton's observation of information obtained through the Freedom
Information and Protection of Privacy Act are as follows:
" In the data provided by the Manitoba Government, monitoring well analyses
reported for 565 different manure storage facilities. Monitoring started
and some facilities have data for 5 years. Some lagoons have multiple
wells around them, some as high as 7.
I have applied the following criteria as indicators of groundwater
Electrical conductivities (measure of salts) above 2000 uS/cm - 207
indicate readings above this threshold. The highest level reported
Nitrate levels greater than 10mg/litre - 124 lagoons above this threshold
highest level at 519mg/L.
Chloride levels above 200 mg/L - 146 lagoons above this threshold
with a highest
level at 8,000 mg/L.
Ammonium levels above 2mg/L - 65 lagoons above this threshold with
level at 4,020 mg/L.
Sodium levels above 200mg/L - 66 lagoons above this threshold with
level at 8,880mg/L.
Not all wells were analyzed for all parameters but over 300 wells
problems in one or more pollution parameters."