The West Credit River is home to a one of the last remaining self-sustaining native Brook Trout populations in southern Ontario. But they are under threat from a proposed Wastewater Treatment Plant that will dump its effluent into the river.

That’s why the Coalition for the West Credit River has asked the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change to designate the Town of Erin’s Wastewater Treatment Plant – in Wellington County, Ontario – for a Federal Impact Assessment. His decision is expected by May 26, so time is of the essence.

Take Action to help save the West Credit RiverAsk Minister Wilkinson to designate the Town of Erin’s proposed Wastewater Treatment Plant for a Federal Impact Assessment

The Impact Assessment is necessary to protect West Credit River’s Brook Trout population. Brook Trout require a cold-water ecosystem, and the sewage effluent will warm the river, putting this fish at great risk. Even ‘best technologies’ can be insufficient when treated sewage is discharged into a sensitive aquatic ecosystem such as the West Credit River.

West Credit River
A young Brook Trout in the West Credit River. Photo by Steve Noakes.

This issue is important because:

  • Brook Trout are the canary in the coal mine. They are a sentinel species.
  • The proposed Erin Wastewater Treatment Plant will dump 7.2 million litres of sewage-effluent daily into the West Credit River – a relatively small receiving stream.
  • This threatens the home of some of the most productive spawning reaches in the West Credit River.
  • Brook Trout populations in southern Ontario have declined by over 80 per cent over the last 70 years. We need to protect this unique ecosystem now.
  • Town of Erin Council’s sewage effluent will place Brook Trout at imminent risk of demise.
  • It was reported that “Brook Trout redds (fish nest and spawning) were extremely abundant in the study reach and the area provides habitat for this critical life stage.”
  • The sewage effluent could destroy Brook Trout nursery habitat, including important spawning and rearing habitat.
  • The town of Erin, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, the Ministry of Environment Conservation and Parks and the Credit Valley Conservation Authority all agreed that “the most productive Brook Trout spawning reaches and the best Brook Trout populations in the West Credit River are located downstream of Erin Village and the longest contiguous Brook Trout habitat in the Credit River watershed is the West Credit River between Erin and Belfountain.”

You can support the Coalition’s Federal Impact Designation Request by signing this fully editable petition letter to express your support

West Credit River
Map of the proposed Town of Erin Wastewater Treatment Plant that would deposit its effluent in the West Credit River.

The Coalition for the West Credit River fully expects Minister Wilkinson will see the value in protecting one of the last remaining healthy native Brook Trout populations in southern Ontario.  Designating the Erin Wastewater Treatment Plant (Erin WWTP) for a full Federal Impact Assessment will provide for a  more rigorous and comprehensive Environmental Assessment that will address the many serious concerns and deficiencies we found in our review of the Environmental Study Report that was approved by Minister Yurek in August of 2019.

The West Credit River is a rare intact cold-water ecosystem of significance – so let’s protect it!

This is a guest post by the Coalition for the West Credit River