Ontario Water News

Five Teams Chosen for Thames River Phosphorus Reduction Project

The Thames River Phosphorus Reduction Collaborative (PRC) has chosen five projects from 11 proposals to develop and test technologies that intercept and remove phosphorus from agricultural runoff. Phosphorus entering the system contributes to the growth of algal blooms in the Thames River and Lake Erie.

One of the accepted proposals is from Ontario-based company Waterloo Biofilter Systems Inc., which develops, designs, manufactures and maintains advanced onsite wastewater treatment systems. The company will install its Waterloo EC-P™ technology at a municipal drain-pump station. The technology uses low-energy electrochemistry to produce iron ions, which react with phosphate ions in the water, creating insoluble iron-phosphorus minerals that can be filtered. This process can also be used to capture and reuse phosphorus as a fertilizing soil amendment.

A total of $400,000 has been awarded to projects that will gauge how efficiently each technology works in removing phosphorus from water that is leaving agricultural fields and drains.

Testing sites will be set up in several agricultural fields in the Thames River watershed, the Lake Erie Basin, and in two municipal pumping stations near Chatham and London. The testing will continue over the next three years.

More than $130,000 in cash and in-kind contributions are being invested in the project from the OFA, GLSLCI, local OFA chapters, the cities of London and Chatham-Kent, Bluewater Pipe, and Ontario Pork.

The Thames River PRC is a voluntary initiative cited in the Canada Ontario Lake Erie Action Plan aimed at contributing to the commitment made in 2016 between Canada and the United States to a 40 percent reduction in the total and soluble reactive phosphorus entering Lake Erie from the Thames in spring.

The group represents agricultural producers, municipalities, conservation authorities, First Nations, agri-businesses, the drainage sector, and environmental non-governmental organizations.