SASKATOON — The City of Saskatoon and the University of Saskatchewan is launching a pilot project to prevent trash and other debris from entering the South Saskatchewan River. The trash can eventually enter the river through storm drains on all Saskatoon streets and roads.
Canada's Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council funded the project through their Alliance Grants program. The project will attach trash trap bags onto outfalls near Pembina Avenue and Prince of Wales Avenue.
Once the bags fill up, USask staff and students will collect and analyze their contents and test the stormwater for potential pollutants.
"Our team will be able to identify the levels and composition of litter and other potentially harmful contents or pollutants entering the river through our storm drains," said Saskatoon Water Director Russ Munro.
USask's Toxicology Centre Director Dr. Markus Brinkmann is the lead principal investigator of the University of Saskatchewan team. USask Associate Professor in Civil, Geological and Environmental Engineering Dr. Kerry McPhedran is the co-principal investigator.
"We hope that this research will help the city understand the sources of pollution better, with the ultimate goal of controlling it before it can enter the river,” said Brinkmann.
Litter and contaminants entering the river can harm fish and other aquatic life, reducing recreational value.
Saskatoon residents can contribute to the project by adequately closing their trash bins to avoid windblown litter, responsibly disposing of waste and harmful chemicals, cleaning after their pets, fertilizing yards with natural elements and ensuring their vehicles are not leaking fluids.
The trash trap bag pilot project will be in place for two years, after which a decision will be made to expand the initiative.
For more information, please visit saskatoon.ca/stormwater.