In February 2009, 11 of the 14 federal, provincial and territorial governments endorsed the "Canada-wide Strategy for the Management of Municipal Wastewater Effluent" (Quebec, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Nunavut did not sign the deal).

The strategy, which was developed through the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME), introduces new National Performance Standards for three pollutants discharged by municipal wastewater facilities to surface water: Carbonaceous Biochemical Oxygen Demand (25 mg/L), Total Suspended Solids (25 mg/L) and Total Residual Chlorine (0.02 mg/L). Existing municipal wastewater treatment plants will have a grace period of up to 30 years to achieve these standards, depending on the risk. The strategy also requires the development of site-specific Effluent Discharge Objectives, which will be determined based on an environmental risk assessment for each facility (i.e. an assessment of the characteristics of the facility's effluent and the risk it presents to the local environment and human health).

It is up to each jurisdiction to make the legislative changes necessary to implement the strategy, over the next three years. The federal government has indicated that it will develop new regulations under the Fisheries Act. The strategy is expected to cost "at least $10 billion to $30 billion" over the next 30 years.

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