Fleming College’s Centre for Alternative Wastewater Treatment (CAWT) will participate in a federally-funded watershed and lake rehabilitation program in Quebec.
BlueLeaf Inc. of Drummondville (Québec) and Conseil de gouvernance de l’eau des bassins versants de la rivière Saint-François (COGESAF), made the announcement this week.
The CAWT project, one of two for Petit-lac-Saint-Francois, is funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC). The lake and watershed is situated in Saint-Francois-Xavier-de-Brompton. The funded projects will be incorporated into a larger, integrated watershed rehabilitation program begun in 2008 by BlueLeaf.
The CAWT’s project, “Development of Innovative Water and Wastewater Treatment Technologies,” is funded through the NSERC College and Community Innovation (CCI) program’s Innovation Enhancement Grants. Additional scientific collaboration is supplied by faculty and students of the Civil Engineering department of Queen’s University of Kingston, Ontario.
The project will focus on the capture of contaminants in water through the use of a variety of materials, as well as the use of biochar in improving agricultural water quality. Biochar is produced through the pyrolysis of organic material which is then incorporated into soil.
For Fleming College, participation in this project is part of a broader NSERC-financed research program involving other partners and encompassing several aspects of water quality. The NSERC contribution to this project at Petit-lac-Saint-François will be a portion of the total of $2.3 million attributed to Fleming College’s larger research program. BlueLeaf will contribute a total of $55,000 to this project over five years.
“The CCI Program supports innovation at a community level by fostering collaboration between industry and post-secondary institutions,” said Suzanne Fortier, President of NSERC. “When companies and colleges collaborate, everyone benefits. New jobs are created, industry expands and the community prospers.”
The second NSERC-funded research project is in partnership with McGill University and their Plant Science Department. It is entitled “Biochar for Management of Phosphorus in Crop Production Systems.”
Within this project the use of biochar as an agricultural soil amendment will be examined for both its environmental and agricultural benefits, in particular its ability to reduce the impact of phosphorus on the environment.
The two projects bring together community partners such as the COGESAF, the local lake association (Association pour la protection du lac St-François-Xavier-de-Brompton [Tomcod] Inc.), the municipality of St-François-Xavier-de-Brompton, the regional municipal council, as well local farm producers and agricultural groups.
Many of the field trials will be conducted within the lake watershed at the Ridelo farm, owned and operated by the Rivard family.
Barry Husk, President of BlueLeaf, stated: “In addition to employing and training students in this important field of research, we hope that these projects will lead to a better understanding of water quality improvement methods and the development of new and better tools for water quality managers. In addition, our hope is that this type of concentrated research effort in applied watershed science will eventually lead to the establishment of a watershed rehabilitation research centre.”
“We are confident that the efforts put into the Petit-lac-Saint-François watershed will contribute to the rehabilitation of the lake,” said Jean-Paul Raîche, President of COGESAF. “We are hoping for a progressive return to use of the lake for recreational activities, such as fishing and boating. Also, the rehabilitation methods developed and applied in this watershed will be applicable to many other watersheds dealing with the problems of surplus phosphorus and blue-green algae.”
BlueLeaf is a social purpose, private corporation, active in environmental issues related to water and agriculture.
NSERC is a federal agency that helps make Canada a country of discoverers and innovators for all Canadians. The agency supports some 30,000 post-secondary students and postdoctoral fellows in their advanced studies. NSERC promotes discovery by funding more than 12,000 professors every year and fosters innovation by encouraging more than 1,500 Canadian companies to participate and invest in post-secondary research projects.
Located in the heart of Central Ontario, Fleming College has campus locations in Peterborough, Lindsay, Cobourg and Haliburton. Named for famous Canadian inventor and engineer Sir Sandford Fleming, the college has more than 90 full-time programs in Business and Technology, Continuing Education and Skilled Trades, Environmental and Natural Resource Sciences, Visual Arts, Education, Health and Wellness, and Law, Justice and Community Services. Fleming College has 6,000 full-time and 10,000 part-time students, and more than 58,000 alumni.
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