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Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority

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New Policy takes the "P" out of Pollution

Phosphorus Offset Policy reduces amount of phosphorus entering Lake Simcoe


Group listens to speaker at LID tour
Officials from 20 municipalities in the Lake Simcoe watershed, tour a Newmarket neighbourhood to hear developer Paul Bailey, talk about integrating Low Impact Development technologies with an aim to reduce phosphorus laden stormwater.

NEWMARKET, ON – October 3, 2017 – On the heels of publishing the Lake Simcoe Phosphorus Load Update, the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority (LSRCA) Board of Directors approved a new policy requiring future development in the Lake Simcoe Watershed to achieve a stringent target of zero-phosphorus discharge into our waterways and Lake Simcoe. 

"The story that the Phosphorus Load Update tells is that we need to come up with new solutions to address phosphorus in Lake Simcoe – so we've done just that," says LSRCA Chair, Aurora Mayor Geoffrey Dawe. "While annual loads haven't increased, they haven't come down to a level that satisfies the provincial targets in the Lake Simcoe Protection Plan. We've developed this policy collaboratively and with significant support from the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD), Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation, watershed municipalities, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (Simcoe Chapter) and the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, so we're confident it will prove to be an effective tool to reduce phosphorus."

In the realm of water quality management, phosphorus, known as "P" in the periodic table of elements, is considered a "dirty" word. In reality, phosphorus is a natural element that people and our planet need to survive, but, and it's a big but, over time too much phosphorus can cause serious issues including excessive weeds, toxic algae and depleted oxygen levels in our rivers, streams and Lake Simcoe. Phosphorus comes from many sources, but one of the most significant is stormwater, which picks up the pollutant as it travels across paved and hardened surfaces, especially in densely populated urban areas.

"Effective January 1, 2018, the policy ensures that new development does not contribute any phosphorus to the watershed," outlined LSRCA Chief Administrative Officer, Mike Walters. "If zero-phosphorus can't be achieved then a project to offset the amount of phosphorus being discharged must be undertaken elsewhere in the watershed, and must meet a ratio of 2.5 to 1. That means for every kilogram of phosphorus discharged, 2.5 kilograms has to be offset."

Read the Phosphorus Load Update 2012-2015 or the Phosphorus Offset Policy

It is the mission of the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority to work with our community to protect and restore the Lake Simcoe watershed by leading research, policy and action.

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Media Contact:
Sue Jagminas
Corporate Communications
Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority
Phone: 905-895-1281, ext. 264
Toll Free: 1-800-465-0437
Email:s.jagminas@LSRCA.on.ca

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