The regions of Durham and York are proceeding with the proposed treatment enhancements at the Duffin Creek Water Pollution Control Plant in Pickering.

The regions received approval from Ontario’s Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) for the Class Environmental Assessment (EA) to Assess Outfall Capacity Limitations.

“We would like to thank the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks for approving our plan to help Durham and York Regions continue to grow while protecting the water environment,” said Susan Siopis, commissioner of works for Durham Region. “We will meet all requirements outlined by the Ministry, and we look forward to establishing an advisory committee to help us implement our Phosphorous Reduction Action Plan.”

“We are listening, and I want to thank the engaged residents who participated in this Class Environmental Assessment process,” Siopis added. “We will continue to treat wastewater in the most environmentally and financially responsible way, while protecting our local ecosystems.”

The Duffin Creek Plant, jointly owned by Durham and York Regions, treats wastewater from residents and businesses in the Town of Ajax, City of Pickering, and York Region. In 2013, a Class EA recommending optimizations of existing processes at the Duffin Creek Plant to operate at a treatment capacity of at least 630 megalitres per day—was reviewed by the province.

Following requests to bump up the Class EA to an Individual EA, Durham and York regions prepared a Phosphorous Reduction Action Plan and submitted it to the Province for review. Now, the Province has approved the Class EA and Phosphorous Reduction Action Plan.

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“Duffin Creek Plant can be proud of having the lowest phosphorus discharge limits of any plant discharging to the open waters of Lake Ontario, while having the least impact on greenhouse gas emissions,” said John Presta, director of environmental services for Durham Region. “Our Phosphorous Reduction Action Plan will ensure that the Duffin Creek Plant remains an environmental leader as York and Durham regions see ongoing economic development. We look forward to getting to work on this project.”

The regions, along with the provincial and federal governments, have invested more than $850 million over the past 10 years in upgraded technologies, equipment, training, and best practices to ensure the Duffin Creek Plant continues to protect our water quality and local environment. The regions will continue to work with Toronto Region Conservation Authority as well as federal and provincial regulatory partners to monitor the near shore of Lake Ontario.

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