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Contaminants in Water

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Resolution Category: 
Provincial Scope 16
Adopted - Expired
Red Deer, City of
Active Clauses: 

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association advocate that the province, in collaboration with the federal government:
• Inform municipalities with respect to current knowledge related to the risks associated with PPCPs and other contaminants in Alberta’s aquatic environments;
• Consult with municipalities with respect to government plans to advance knowledge and develop best management practices, guidelines and regulations related to PPCPs and other contaminants; and
• Collaborate with municipalities to identify, study, and monitor contaminants within Alberta aquatic environments, particularly surface waters used as drinking water sources or wastewater receiving streams, and to evaluate the potential risks associated with each water body.
FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED THAT once guidelines and regulations have been established, Alberta Urban Municipalities Association advocate that the province, in collaboration with the federal government:
• Work collaboratively with rural and urban municipalities to develop source control programs (e.g., education, best management practices, monitoring, enforcement) and treatment processes to reduce harmful contaminants within their waste streams; and
• Provide funding to municipalities to support source control programs and construct/upgrade treatment facilities to reduce harmful levels of targeted contaminants.

Whereas Clauses: 

WHEREAS chemicals and biochemicals are used for health care and other purposes and contribute to improved living standards for society;

WHEREAS there is a growing concern of the impacts that these substances have on the environment and potentially human health as they become contaminants within terrestrial and aquatic environments;

WHEREAS contaminants, including pesticides, herbicides, hydrocarbons, Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products (PPCPs) (e.g., flushable wipes), enter the aquatic environment through a variety of sources including municipal wastewaters, industrial releases, agribusiness and other sources;

WHEREAS PPCPs comprise a diverse collection of chemical and biochemical substances, including antibiotics, hormones, medications, fragrances, cosmetics and products used by agribusiness to boost growth or health of livestock; and

WHEREAS in the past decade analytical methods have been developed to identify and quantify the presence of PPCPs and other contaminants in water and research has begun on the potential impact these contaminants may have on the aquatic environment.

Resolution Background: 

Contaminants in Water

  • The Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality are established by the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Committee and published by Health Canada. Each guideline is based on current, published scientific research as it relates to the health effects, aesthetic effects and operational considerations for each contaminant; which municipalities monitor with respect to their potable water. The Canadian Council of ministers of the Environment recently created a Canada Wide Strategy which proposed new regulations for wastewater effluent. Municipalities monitor their wastewater effluent for these contaminants prior to discharging to receiving streams and report them to the Federal Government. However, many pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) along with other contaminants are not well monitored as they are not yet a part of the regulations.
  • The US Environmental Protection Agency states that 'Studies have shown that pharmaceuticals are present in our nation's waterbodies. Further research suggests that certain drugs may cause ecological harm.' They also indicate that 'To date, scientists have found no evidence of adverse human health effects from PPCPs in the environment.'
  • PPCPs in aquatic environments are an emerging concern to many people, organizations and governments. While there has been considerable research done on the topic, no best management practices, guidelines or regulations appear to have been developed in Canada or the U.S. with respect to PPCPs in source water or waste streams.

Additional information can be found at the following websites:

AUMA Comments: 
Closed Resolution