Manitoba is implementing new rules for livestock waste management in response to recommendations made by the Clean Environment Commission (CEC) and the auditor general, Conservation Minister Stan Struthers announced late last week.

“When we entered office, we recognized that decades of poor planning, abuse and neglect of our lakes, rivers and wetlands had to stop,” Struthers said.  “These new rules for industry build on our recently announced regulations for human sewage and funding for wetlands restoration.”

The new regulations include a complete ban on winter spreading of manure on Manitoba farms by 2013, a requirement that all new pig producers register manure management plans with the province and a minimum capacity for manure storage.

In addition, University of Manitoba scientists will use a provincial grant of $300,000 to study the relationship between phosphorus buildup in the soil and how it later gets into Manitoba’s waterways, Water Stewardship Minister Christine Melnick announced.

Over-applying phosphorus to the land, whether from manure, fertilizer or municipal biosolids, increases the risk that the phosphorus will make its way into rivers and lakes, where it contributes to algal blooms, said Melnick.

The new rules and research funding follow significant action already taken to reduce phosphorus loading to provincial lakes and rivers, said Melnick, noting Manitoba was the first jurisdiction in Canada to pass legislation to control phosphorus in cleaning compounds, first to pass a regulation banning application of nutrients to buffer zones along streams, rivers and lakes, and first to regulate the content of phosphorus in fertilizers used in urban and rural residential areas for cosmetic purposes.

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Watch for a letter from the Association of Manitoba Municipalities regarding some of the province’s new rules in the November/December issue.

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