Beating a Dead Horse Creek: Enhanced removal of nutrients, organic pollutants, and toxicity from sewage lagoons and receiving waters by manipulative constructed wetland microcosms at Dead Horse Creek, Manitoba

Our overall project objective is to determine factors to optimize removal of nutrients and organic micropollutants (e.g., pesticides, and pharmaceuticals and personal care products aka “drugs”) in rural municipal sewage lagoons, through manipulative experiments with bench-scale and field-scale constructed wetlands.  This work will provide sound science on how best to remove such contaminants from wastewaters prior to release to receiving waters, and would enhance the quality and sustainability of water for the people of Manitoba.

            Our specific geographic focus is the communities of Morden and Winkler (combined population ca. 18,000), in southern Manitoba. The Dead Horse Creek system can be considered representative not only of wastewater treatment technologies of small communities in Manitoba and the Canadian Prairies, but also of nutrient and pollutant contributions to Lake Winnipeg from rural areas.  Thus, an understanding of the inter-play of factors potentially affecting function of the proposed wetlands is crucial to their optimal operations, and will provide insights into applying such environmental technologies to other systems to enhance water quality.

            The Globalink student will have the opportunity to work with a large (17 people in 2010) and unique multi-investigator, multi-institution, multi-organization, multi-disciplinary team tackling the issue of nutrient and micropollutant remediation by innovative water treatment technologies.  The student will play a crucial role in constructing a chemical mass balance in the manipulative field-scale microcosms.  Extensive field sampling at the site (1.5 hours southwest of Winnipeg) will be done to characterize the existing chemical compostion in the sewage lagoons of Morden and Winkler, which represent baseline conditions (i.e., the treatment available given currently-existing infrastructure and technology).

Faculty Supervisor:

Dr. Charles Wong


Sheetal Lokesh



Environmental sciences


Environmental industry



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