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Winnipeg sewage plant receives $127M from provincial government for upgrades

The province and city have come to an agreement over the timeline for upgrades to Winnipeg's North End sewage plant. File / Global News

A three-phase upgrade plan to the North End Sewage Treatment Plant, also known as the North End Water Pollution Control Center (NEWPCC), is receiving another massive investment from the Manitoba government.

Municipal Affairs Minister Rochelle Squires told 680 CJOB the government takes the project, set to have an integral impact on Lake Winnipeg, very seriously and hopes to further prove its devotion with Friday’s latest investment of $126.6-million toward the project — this in addition to the already backed $56.2-million.

Read more: Winnipeg, province agree to deal for North End sewage plant upgrades

Squires said the province has been ordered to get the project done since 2003, and is currently in negotiations with the federal government to invest as well.

“It is no surprise to the federal government that this is a top priority for Manitoba,” said Squires.

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According to the city’s website, phase one of the upgrade, which Squires said has already been paid for by the city, includes a new power supply and headworks facilities.

Phase two is 50 per cent paid for by the city, according to Squires, and the rest she said will hopefully be pitched in by the federal government. This phase of the upgrade will include a new facility to turn wastewater sludge into biosolids.

Phase three, which hasn’t yet been approved or funded, includes a new facility to remove nitrogen and phosphorus from wastewater.

St. Vital City Coun. Brian Mayes said the desire to push the project forward has all levels of government cooperating.

“It’s not just aesthetics, it’s probably our biggest environmental thing we could be doing over the next couple years,” said Mayes.

The impact on Lake Winnipeg is one of the biggest rewards of the project as excessive phosphorus in the lake from the sewage plant contributes to its algae blooms.

Read more: Lake Winnipeg algae blooms could be tackled with change at city sewage plant, say experts

Squires said the province has committed more infrastructure dollars to the city this year than has been seen in some time, with the capital basket being upped by 23 per cent and 138.8-million being invested in the city’s infrastructure budget last year as well.

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