Monday, April 5, 2010

Issues With Lake Winnipeg

Today we discussed the major issue in Lake Winnipeg; eutrophication. This has already been covered in earlier posts so I will simply leave the definition we were given today.

Eutrophication: "Excessive nutrients in a water boy usually caused by a runoff of nutrients (animals waste, fertilizers, sewage) from the land, which causes a dense growth of plant life; the subsequent decompositions of the plant depletes the supply of oxygen in the water, leading to the death of animal life."
The algae is a major issues in Lake Winnipeg since so much phosphorus is coming in. The wetlands that filter it out are overwhelmed. Where does it all come from? Well some from the U.S., some from Saskatchewan via the rivers, and the rest from Manitoba, with Winnipeg producing about 6% (mostly from overflow in the sewer system). When all the algae dies it decomposes on the bottom of the lake and uses up a lot of oxygen. This can lead to the deaths of numerous aquatic animals despite the algae providing a smorgasbord of of food for fish.

Biosolids are one of the main sources of excess nutrients and are defined in class as;

Biosolids: "Solid organic matter recovered from sewage treatment plants and used as fertilizer."

Going back to he sewer overflow it is understandable how Winnipeg (via the Red River) can be such a threat to Lake Winnipeg. Currently their are projects to counteract excessive nutrients such as the upgrading of Winnipeg's waste water treatment plants to remove phosphorous.

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