Update on Southeast Manitoba Environmental Activities

From a Press Conference organized by The Manitoba Eco-Network, Our Line in the Sand, Brokenhead and Surrounding Area Environmentalists, and The Manitoba Eco-Network

Media Conference

Citizens across southeast Manitoba pressure provincial government to protect our waters and environment

Three Groups Join Forces to Say Change Needs to Occur Now

New Developments in southeast Manitoba threaten water in the Brokenhead River, Lake Winnipeg and southeast Manitoba.

Hog Watch Manitoba,

Our Line in the Sand,

Brokenhead &Surrounding Area Environmentalists

What: Press Conference

When: Tuesday December 6, 2022

Where: Legislative Building, 450 Broadway, Room 230

Time: 12:00 p.m.

Who: Representatives of Hog Watch Manitoba, Our Line in the Sand, Brokenhead and Surrounding Area Environmentalists will provide details about developments that are being approved without due diligence to impacts on the Brokenhead River, wells in southeastern Manitoba and ultimately Lake Winnipeg.

“The Provincial government’s Water Management Strategy must ensure meaningful environmental assessments are conducted before green lighting new developments, something that is not happening now” says Vicki Burns, of Hog Watch Manitoba. “Without safe, clean water, it’s not just a loss in quality of life but life itself, for humans and animals alike. “

For Further information Contact:

Vicki Burns, Hog Watch Manitoba Communications Director

Press Conference

 Dec. 6, 2022

Participant Groups

Hog Watch Manitoba is a non-profit organization, a coalition of environmentalists, farmers, animal welfare & social justice advocates, and concerned citizens. We are promoting a hog industryin Manitoba that is ethically, environmentally, and economically sustainable.Hog Watch Manitoba – What’s the Big Stink?

Our Line in the Sand Manitoba is a group of concerned citizens advocating to protect the Watershed in Eastern Manitoba.  We collaborate with multiple groups to further public awareness, research, assess risks, hold corporations and government accountable, petition elected officials, and ensure the Voice of the Water, Land and Air is heard.Our Line in the Sand Manitoba Inc.

Brokenhead and Surrounding Area Environmentalists are a group of citizens concerned about protecting the Brokenhead River and surrounding areas from environmental damage resulting from impacts of new development. (2) Brokenhead, and Surrounding Area Environmentalists | Facebook

The Manitoba Eco-Network – Since 1988, the Manitoba Eco-Network has promoted positive environmental action by supporting people and groups in our community. We are a public interest environmental organization seeking to promote and facilitate good environmental governance and the protection of Manitoba’s environment for the benefit of current and future generations.

Manitoba Eco-Network (mbeconetwork.org)

Fact Sheet – December 6, 2022

Sio Silica Sand Mining Proposal

Headquartered in Calgary, Sio Silica is proposing to extract silica sand in a mining operation near Vivian, Manitoba. The proposed project area in eastern Manitoba is extensive and involves many pumping wells over a long period of time. The work described in the proponent’s proposal only refers to a four-year planning horizon with about 1,680 wells, but ultimately could result in over 10,000 wells over the next 24 years.


The Provincial Government has ordered a Clean Environment Commission hearing of this project before a final approval (expected in spring 2023). The wells described above will tap into large underground water bearing zones, called aquifers. One of the aquifers (sandstone) is to be extensively mined with a new and unproven technology.


  1. Deep concerns have been expressed of the project’s impacts on current well water users and communities in the area. Both quantity and quality of water may be seriously affected making the water unsafe for human consumption. According to consultants hired by the Clean Environment Commission to conduct an initial review of the proposal, the potential impacts are many and not all the relevant issues were identified and resolved with the work described in the proposal by Sio Silica. For example, potential impacts include release of potentially health impacting substances from the shale formation into aquifers which are used for drinking water purposes.
  • The effects of removing sand from one of the main aquifers and its subsequent effect on the overall properties of the aquifer (locally and regionally) is not considered given this will likely be significant.

The effects on potential future water-well users in areas that have been disturbed by mining, have not been not considered.


Hydraulic pump tests need to be completed – computer modelling of the overall impacts in Eastern Manitoba need to be completed.

Citizens are demanding that the Sio Silica Corporation complete all of the studies, tests, models that have been highlighted as deficiencies by the consultants who have made their initial report to CEC. It is premature to proceed with a Clean Environment Commission hearing until the knowledge gaps identified are resolved and released to the public for review. 

Hydrogeology_Technical_Review.pdf (cecmanitoba.ca)

For further information contact:   Janine Gibson, 204-434-6018  creativehealthconsulting@gmail.com

Fact Sheet – December 6, 2022

The Town of Beausejour – Water Treatment Reverse Osmosis plant

The Town of Beausejour plans to construct and operate an upgraded water supply system using Reverse Osmosis Treatment. An Environment Act License from the Province of Manitoba has been issued for this project and citizens are concerned this was conducted without due diligence. The environmental impacts of the project will include over 20,000 litres per hour of waste concentrate piped directly into the Brokenhead River. 

AT ISSUE             The upgraded water supply system will include:

  1. Two wells along Pescitelli Road southwest of Beausejour.
  2. A raw water pipeline connecting the wells with a new water treatment plant off Park Avenue east of the existing water treatment plant.
  3. A concentrate pipeline from the new water treatment plant east along Park Avenue and Provincial Trunk Highway 44 to the Brokenhead River. 


  1. The waste concentrate which has been filtered out of the water contains minerals and chemicals which will change the chemistry of the Brokenhead River and alter the aquatic habitat, potentially harming fish and affecting the entire food chain. This concentrate will be discharged into the Brokenhead River all year, even during low flow and winter conditions and will not disperse. 
  2. It was estimated that up to 6 liters per second of waste concentrate water would be produced in the treatment process. This translates into over 20,000 litres per hour all of which goes directly into the Brokenhead River every day, year round. This amount of waste is also underestimated and could be double that amount.
  3. The discharge site is in a highly populated and well used recreation area along the river. In periods of high water levels this could cause flooding to properties along the riverside as well as restrictions on recreation use. There is also the danger caused by open water during the winter months from the discharge.
  4. The Proposed Project as listed on the Manitoba Government’s Public Registry includes incorrect, contradictory and confusing information as well as lack of information. For example, a dam roughly 300 meters downstream from the project site is not even mentioned.


Citizens demand that the Province of Manitoba halt construction of this water treatment system until an accurate and comprehensive assessment of impacts on humans, wildlife and aquatic life in and around the Brokenhead River is completed and released for public input.

A comprehensive report by Dr. Eva Pip, Professor (retired) Biology, over four decades of expertise in water quality, toxicology, and public health can be read at:   https://www.gov.mb.ca/sd/eal/registries/6059beausejour/publiccomments2.pdf

For more information contact:  Janice Brolly, 204-998-5954 j_brolly@shaw.ca

Fact Sheet – December 6, 2022

Westfarm Colony Farms Project

The Westfarm Colony proposal involves establishing a mixed livestock operation and residential community for about 100 people. The livestock operation will be completed over approximately 20 years based on population growth and market conditions.


Construction of five new buildings; • Earthen, under-barn concrete and field manure storage;

Livestock at full build out will be comprised as follows: • 25 feeder cattle (19 Animal Units); • 950 farrow to finish sows (1,188 Animal Units. In a farrow-to-finish operation, 22-26 weeks (starting at birth) are required to grow a pig to slaughter weight.; • 50,000 broiler chickens (250 Animal Units); • 11,000 layer chickens (91 Animal Units); • 1,500 broiler turkeys (15 Animal Units); • 800 ducks (14 Animal Units). • 3 mature cows (6 Animal Units).

A maximum of 18,998 imperial gallons of water per day will be consumed from a proposed well.


People who live in the RM of Brokenhead are deeply concerned for the following reasons.

  1. The Westfarm Colony proposal will use massive amounts of water (30,000 gallons per day according to the government’s calculations of water required per animal unit) from two wells.
  2. Volume of water to be used is a major concern for those who live close to these wells. Diane Robertson (whose well is only 400 feet from one of the proposed new wells) reports that their well was free-flowing, but by August/21 because of the very dry years, it was not. The August rains helped, but water levels were still below average. A huge daily withdrawal of water from the proposed wells could limit water availability for others reliant on well water nearby.
  3. The intensive livestock operation manure spread fields will impact several municipalities and the Brokenhead River. Water quality will be affected by run off from the manure during spring snow melt and rainstorms, and may affect vulnerable species and the wild rice and fish harvests.
  4. The Hutterite community of 100+ people is being located in an area completely inundated during the 1997 flood. (photos available). This increases the risk of runoff seeping into the river.
  5. No water studies/reports have been conducted by an independent engineer to map and verify location of aquifers, recharge/discharge, above and below ground water flows and fluctuations. There is no knowledge of existing water usage, water availability in both wet and dry years, projections of future water usage by residents and hobby farms.

Simply put, due diligence has not been applied by the provincial government before approval was given by the RM of Brokenhead.


Citizens are demanding that the Provincial Government halt further construction and commission a thorough, impartial, accurate hydrogeologic survey of the area. Once completed this report must be shared with the public.

Description of the project from the Manitoba government Technical Review Report trc_report.pdf (gov.mb.ca)

Dr. Eva Pip’s comments on the Westfarm proposal Eva Pip’s report re the Westfarm proposal.pdf

For further information contact:  Diane Robertson – 204-265-3106 diane.b.robertson@outlook.com

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