At a luncheon at the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, Environment and Climate Change minister, Glen Murray, honoured a group of Ontario’s most outstanding environmental stewards. The recipients of the 2015 Minister’s Award for Environmental Excellence met to receive their awards and celebrate their efforts to protect the environment and fight climate change.

Several recipients are involved in water projects:

Bernard Mayer, the safe water manager with the Regional Municipality of York, is leading a team of researchers that study weather and water conditions to predict beach closures, before water samples get analyzed. Their goal is to give the public more notice of an advisory or closure before they head to the beach. The team is creating predictive models for public beaches along Lake Simcoe shoreline.

Green Communities Canada is building support for stormwater innovation in communities across Ontario through the RAIN Community Solutions program. The program encourages the use of pavement that absorbs water, rain barrels and gardens, bioswales, and enhancing the urban forest to divert thousands of litres of rain from entering the stormwater system. RAIN promotes three simple messages: slow it down, soak it up, and keep it clean.

GreenBug Energy Inc. makes micro hydro-electric projects for low-head dams, typically owned by farms, municipalities, and conservation authorities. These power-generating projects help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and make it safe for fish to pass through. A GreenBug Energy bioswales hydropower project on Big Creek in Norfolk County is expected to produce enough electricity to power 38 homes (see “Water Power” in the Jan/Feb issue of Water Canada).

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Town of Perth and Bishop Water Technologies are using innovative technology called a Geotube system to treat residue from the Perth Water Treatment Plant. The project is eliminating discharge of solids to the Tay River and conserving capacity in the town’s sewage lagoons. The system is less costly than conventional systems. The treated residue can also be reused as landfill cover and in construction activities.

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Recipients of the 2015 Minister’s Award for Environmental Excellence pose for a photo with Minister Glen Murray.

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