On Thursday, the Public Utilities Commission held its first electronic meeting, and discussed its 2019 drinking and wastewater quality management system report, a requirement for the drinking water quality management system to maintain certification as an operating authority.
Several wastewater plants were found to have exceeded the total allowable average monthly concentration of ammonia, phosphorus, suspended solids and Carbonaceous Biochemical Oxygen Demand (CBOD).
The PUC, which measures levels on a monthly average, must report any problems in the treatment process or high levels to the Ministry of Environment and make adjustments in the plant.
Most notable was the Tilbury Waste Water Plant where an excess of Total Phosphorus occurred in all months of 2019. Too much phosphorus can cause algae bloom. Total Phosphorus limit for the plant is 0.5 mg/K, with the highest levels being found in August at 1.85 mg/L.
However, PUC officials explained that anything over the limit is reportable but the levels seen are not high enough to be a detriment to the water quality or the environment.
The report stated that the excess discharge of non-reactive phosphorus was from local industry and they are working closely with the industry to address the issue.