The Thames River rising closed to King St. parking lot March 26, 2016. (Photo by Simon Crouch)

Comment: Nutrients not just from farms

It has been one of those cold and very wet springs, but with luck that is about to change.

Cold wet springs of course are challenging, not only because farmers want to get on the land and get seeds in the land.

With wet fields they also need to be aware of keeping nutrients in the land as well.

High water levels make it challenging to keep fertilizer on the field and for those needing to apply manure it just isn’t good to see the rain coming down.

It won’t be long before we’ll be hearing more angst about algae blooms.

I have no problem or dispute about the need to keep manure in it’s place but everyone shares this responsibility.

This week it was reported that a number of spills or diversions of sewage flow this year already have dumped the equivalent of 60 Olympic sized swimming pools of sewage into the Thames River.

That’s from London alone.

Many other communities have combined storm and sewage drains so you know London isn’t alone.

I suspect that farmers particularly those who are in the livestock sector aren’t really impress by that news at a time when nutrient management for agriculture is about to get more onerous.

I’m opposed to algae blooms as much as anyone, and I actually agree farmers need to respond to calls to keep nutrients on the land and out of waterways.

Especially those on that one river in Ohio that typically supplies about 80 % of the nutrients in Lake Erie algae blooms.

But so do cities. Most cities claim they don’t have enough money to upgrade their sewage treatment facilities.

It makes you wonder about those that are building houses and growing quickly, quickly spreading onto former farms.

New construction is supposed to have separate storm and sanitary sewers, but, if they then run back through areas that don’t what happens next.

Well I’m not sure, but here’s an idea. No new construction if the sewage is going to ever stand a change of running into a river.

Just a suggestion of course, but something to remember in late August when algae blooms are back in the news and urban neighbours start pointing fingers.