Many small sources. of nutrients in Manitoba. Nitrogen. Phosphorus

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1 Many small sources of nutrients in Manitoba In Manitoba, nutrients are contributed from many relatively small sources. No single source of nutrients can be considered a large contributor. Nutrients are produced by virtually all of our activities including: - human wastewater and detergents - industry - agriculture - cosmetic fertilizers - erosion - wind and rain inputs directly to water - natural sources - other jurisdictions When combined, all nutrient sources become significant. All sources are being asked to reduce nutrient contributions. In Lake Winnipeg, nutrient contributions have been grouped into six main sources. Nitrogen Phosphorus Wind and rain inputs directly to Lake Winnipeg Agriculture 5% 10% 15% 6% Natural Background Human wastewater and industry 19% 51% 17% 53% Upstream Jurisdictions Nitrogen Fixation 5% 10% 9%

2 Why be concerned about nutrients? What is a nutrient? Phosphorus and nitrogen are nutrients - substances necessary for plant growth. Nutrient enrichment is one of Manitoba s largest water quality challenges. Nuisance algae blooms are caused by too much phosphorus and nitrogen. Algae blooms can affect: - the safety of water for drinking and recreation - the safety of water for livestock, wildlife and pets - commercial and sport fisheries - drinking water treatment costs - recreation and tourism industries - aquatic habitat and biodiversity - the aesthetic appeal of lakes and rivers Increasing concentrations of nitrogen and phosphorus have been observed across southern Manitoba over the past 30 years. Phosphorus has increased: - 10 per cent in Lake Winnipeg - Almost 200 per cent in the La Salle River - More than 50 per cent in the Souris River Nitrogen has increased: - 13 per cent in Lake Winnipeg - About 145 per cent in the La Salle River - More than 114 per cent in the Marsh River

3 Fertilizers Applied for Cosmetic Purposes Fertilizers typically contain Nitrogen Phosphorus Potassium The three numbers on a fertilizer bag indicate the relative amount of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium - in that order. When the middle number on the fertilizer bag is zero, the fertilizer does not contain phosphorus.

4 How do nutrients in fertilizers applied for cosmetic purposes get into waterways? Most Manitoba soil has an abundant supply of natural phosphorus. Fertilizers are often applied without a soil test that would indicate if phosphorus is needed. More fertilizer is applied than required. Fertilizer is inadvertently applied to sidewalks and driveways. Rain and runoff from melting snow washes excess nutrients into waterways through ditches and storm drains. Fertilizers applied along lake and river front properties can wash directly into the water.

5 What are other jurisdictions doing? Several U.S. state and local governments have passed legislation regulating the sale and use of lawn fertilizer. Regulations include: Fertilizer cannot be applied when the ground is frozen. Fertilizer cannot be applied to parking lots, roadways and sidewalks. Restricting or limiting application of phosphorus to specific conditions. Limiting use of nitrogen or allowing only the use of slow release formulas. In Minnesota, part of the Lake Winnipeg watershed, fertilizers containing phosphorus can only be used on lawns if a soil test indicates that it is needed or on newly established lawns.

6 How does Manitoba propose to reduce the use of cosmetic fertilizers? Under the Nutrient Management Regulation: The application of fertilizer will be prohibited within buffer zones along rivers and lakes as of Golf courses and driving ranges will be required to submit a nutrient management plan. Manitoba is also proposing that: Fertilizers containing phosphorus could be applied only to new residential lawns. Manitoba will work closely with the local retail sector to ensure phosphorus-free fertilizers are available.

7 How do nutrients from household cleaning products get into waterways? Cleaning products often contain large amounts of phosphorus. Phosphorus in cleaning products ends up in wastewater treatment plants and septic systems. There may be little or no treatment to remove phosphorus before its release to rivers and lakes. Dishwashing detergents contribute an estimated one per cent of the phosphorus load to Lake Winnipeg. Phosphorus in Cleaning Products - Did you know? Only the phosphorus content of laundry detergents has been restricted through federal legislation. There are no provincial or federal regulations controlling phosphorus in dishwashing detergents. Manitoba Water Stewardship recently tested the phosphorus content in 25 varieties of automatic dishwashing detergents that are readily available in Manitoba. Phosphorus content varied from 0.01 to more than 10 per cent.

8 What is underway in other jurisdictions? Legislation to reduce phosphorus in dishwashing detergent has been introduced in several U.S. states. In Washington and Maryland, dishwashing detergents containing more than 0.5 per cent phosphorus by weight will be prohibited by 2010.

9 How does Manitoba propose to reduce nutrients in household cleaning products? Work closely with the federal government and other provinces and territories to develop a national approach restricting phosphorus content in household cleaning products. A nation-wide market for phosphorus-reduced detergent will minimize costs to consumers. Approximately 70 per cent of Manitoba s surface water originates in upstream jurisdictions, so a consistent national approach would be most effective. If a consistent national approach is not developed, Manitoba proposes to develop its own regulatory approach.

10 What you can do Choose to be Phosphate Free When purchasing laundry, dishwashing and other cleaning products, look for phosphate free on the label. If the label does not say the product is phosphate-free, it probably does contain phosphates. Check the labels on household and personal cleaning products and avoid those containing phosphorus. Ask your retailer for phosphate-free or low-phosphate products. These products are becoming more widely available and increased consumer demand will encourage local retailers to carry them. Consider simpler, safer methods when doing household cleaning chores. Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) can clean and polish aluminum, chrome, jewelry, plastic, porcelain, silver, stainless steel and tin. It also softens fabrics and removes certain stains. Isopropyl alcohol is an excellent disinfectant for a variety of needs. Lemon juice can be used to clean glass and remove stains from aluminum, porcelain and clothing. Soap (not detergent) is an effective cleaner for natural fabrics such as cotton, silk or wool. Vinegar can dissolve mineral deposits and grease; remove soap scum, mildew or wax buildup; clean brick or stone and shine windows without streaking. Washing soda (sodium carbonate or soda ash) can cut stubborn grease on grills, broiler pans and ovens.

11 What you can do Choose to Know How to Grow Don t use fertilizers within 30 metres of a shoreline. Reduce or eliminate the use of fertilizer containing phosphorus on lawns. Most soils in Manitoba are already rich in phosphorus and additional phosphorus is not required to maintain a healthy lawn. Check the three numbers listed on fertilizer products. These numbers indicate the percentages of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, in that sequence. Look for 0 in the middle number, indicating that it is phosphorus free fertilizer. Use mulched clippings on your flower and vegetable gardens. They boost soil fertility while providing moisture and shade. Start composting and apply the rich results to your flower or vegetable gardens. Consider alternatives to intensive lawn care such as natural habitat projects. Gardening with native plants will reduce the need for fertilizers and water.

12 Other Initiatives Underway to Reduce Nutrients Announced the Lake Winnipeg Action Plan, a commitment to reduce phosphorus and nitrogen to Lake Winnipeg by about 10 to 13 per cent. Established the Lake Winnipeg Stewardship Board. The Board released its second report in February 2006 and asks all Manitobans, and our neighbours to work together and take action in the spirit of collective responsibility. Issued new Environment Act licences for the City of Winnipeg s wastewater treatment plants requiring full nutrient controls by Required new and expanding wastewater treatment facilities such as those serving the food-processing sector to reduce nutrients. Amended The Livestock Manure and Mortalities Management Regulation to include phosphorus. Proposed the Nutrient Management Regulation to protect water quality by encouraging responsible nutrient planning, regulating the application of materials containing nutrients and restricting the development of certain types of facilities in environmentally sensitive areas. Reached an agreement through the International Joint Commission s International Red River Board that all jurisdictions in the Red River basin will reduce nutrients to Lake Winnipeg by 10 per cent within five years. Requested the Clean Environment Commission to undertake an investigation of the environmental sustainability of the pig sector in Manitoba and placed a pause on new or expanded intensive pig operations until the investigation is completed. Modernized the Planning Act to include mandatory municipal land-use planning and the requirement for municipal development plans to include a livestock operations policy that sets out where livestock operations will be considered and where they will be prohibited.

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