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Passionate about Sewage

Shirley Anne Smyth and Steve Teslic are passionate about sewage. This duo travels across the country to sample municipal wastewater treatment plants to determine levels of priority substances under the Chemicals Management Plan (CMP). 

Since 2009, they have sampled some 42 municipal wastewater treatment plants to support the data needs of their CMP risk assessment and risk management colleagues at Environment and Climate Change Canada. Their data provides risk assessors actual concentrations of substances in wastewater and land-applied biosolids.

“As an example, risk assessors look at substance X in a personal care product, and will have to estimate how many Canadians use it, and how much is going down the drain,” said Shirley Anne. “There are many assumptions about releases to the environment. When we are able to sample, we can provide assessors with measured concentrations to verify or improve their assumptions.”

Municipal wastewater treatment facilities participate in this program voluntarily, anonymously, and enthusiastically, added Shirley Anne. Treatment plants are also provided with the results of samples taken by this Environment and Climate Change Canada team.  

Their data has also been used in many scientific publications, which adds to global knowledge of substance concentrations, removals, and temperature effects on water treatment experienced here in Canada.

Smyth Teslic

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