The Land and Water Boards of the Mackenzie Valley and the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) announced the release of the Guidelines for Effluent Mixing Zones on September 20th.
“Working closely with partners on initiatives that support environmentally sustainable decision-making is important for managing water in the NWT,” said Robert C. McLeod, Minister of Environment and Natural Resources. McLeod also noted that the Guidelines document helps clarify the regulatory process while supporting the Water and Effluent Quality Management Policy and builds on the GNWT’s Water Stewardship Action Plan 2016-2020. “This initiative demonstrates the GNWT’s continued efforts to work in partnership with our stakeholders to improve and enhance water-related regulatory decision making across the NWT,” said McLeod.
In the Mackenzie Valley, the use of water and the deposit of waste into water is regulated under the Waters Act. Responsibilities associated with the approval, issuance, administration, and enforcement of water licences are shared by the Boards (Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board, Gwich’in Land and Water Board, Sahtu Land and Water Board, and Wek’èezhìi Land and Water Board) and the GNWT.
“These guidelines were shaped by input received from parties following a public review process and incorporate current best practices on the use and regulation of mixing zones,” said Mavis Cli-Michaud, chair of the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board. “The Boards believe the addition of this guidance document to the northern toolbox will add clarity and certainty for all stakeholders regarding the deposit of waste within the Mackenzie Valley.”
In recognition of their collective responsibility for water licensing, the Boards and the GNWT have collaborated in the development of these Guidelines. The Guidelines are intended to improve the clarity and consistency of water licensing decisions involving the use of mixing zones in the regulation of waste discharge across the NWT.
The Guidelines are significant as they are the first water regulatory guidelines to be jointly released by the GNWT and Boards since water-related responsibilities were devolved from the federal government in 2014.