Onita Basu, an Ottawa professor, wants to eliminate chlorine from municipal sewage treatment using an organic replacement called peracetic acid, reports St. Catharines, Ont.’s The Standard.

Grimsby’s Baker Road sewage plant is the first in Canada to test the chlorine-free treatment, although it’s already used in Europe. The organic acid is used just like chlorine to disinfect sewage before it exits the plant into Lake Ontario.

A small tank of the liquid continuously pumps into one of the plant’s enormous round settling tanks.

It’s a simple experiment, but important, said regional environmental technologist Chris Gatchene.

Chlorine has successfully killed dangerous bacteria like E. coli for decades, but the potent chemical has also proven deadly to fish and other lake life. As a result, the federal government has ordered all municipal sewage plants to cut chlorine disinfection to negligible levels by 2010.

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