Sustainable Water Treatment for the Far North
Billions of litres of wastewater and stormwater are discharged into Canada’s rivers, lakes and coastal ecosystems every year. The water is often untreated or only partially treated and poses risks to health and the environment.
This issue is a particular challenge for small rural communities in the Far North. Conventional wastewater treatment plants in larger cities require a lot of energy, chemicals and technical staff to operate. Implementing such systems in remote northern regions would place an unsustainable financial and human resources burden on these small communities.
Dr. Rob Jamieson, Canada Research Chair in Cold Regions Ecological Engineering, is investigating how ecologically engineered systems can be used for water management in cold climates.
Jamieson aims to integrate naturally-occurring biochemical processes in the design of sustainable environmental management systems and assess their potential environmental risks. For example, constructed wetlands for wastewater treatment do not require energy and chemical inputs. They are also relatively cheap and easy to maintain, making them an attractive option for small, remote communities with limited resources.
Jamieson’s research will lead to the development of design guidelines for wastewater treatment systems in the Far North that will reduce environmental and health risks.