Selkirk Generating Station environmental aspects

Selkirk’s water systems include the water treatment plant that produces process water for the steam cycle; the cooling water system used to condense the steam exiting the steam turbine; and service water systems for cooling auxiliary equipment.

Liquid effluents include heated cooling water discharged to Cooks Creek, and water treatment wastes, domestic sewage, and site run-off discharged to the Red River.

Combustion gases, primarily water vapour, carbon dioxide, and some oxides of nitrogen, are released to the atmosphere via the boiler stack.

Aquatics

The intermittent operation of the Selkirk GS causes the frequency, nature, and magnitude of effects on the local aquatic ecosystem to be a function of the timing of operation, the amount and duration of generation, and the discharge present in the Red River and Cooks Creek at the time of generation.

Over the plant’s history, many mitigation measures have been incorporated to respond to observed and anticipated conditions and to comply with the station’s regulatory approvals. These measures prevent or reduce the impacts on the aquatic ecosystem and will be continued. Additional measures will also be implemented to further reduce the effects of operation.

After several decades of operation at Selkirk, the local reach of the Red River and Cooks Creek continue to support an abundant and diverse fish community, indicating the existing operation of the station has had no notable, long term effects to the local fish populations. This observation, in conjunction with the numerous studies that describe conditions in the aquatic environment during periods of station operation and shut down, demonstrate that continued operation of the station in a manner similar to that of the past will not have a detectable adverse effect on the local fish populations. In addition, when mitigation measures are taken into account, study results indicate that even under the theoretical scenario of continuous generation most effects would remain minimal.

Air quality

The conclusion from the air quality assessment is that emissions from Selkirk when operated at maximum rate and combined with background ambient concentrations are either low or insignificant with respect to Manitoba and Canadian air quality objectives.

Terrestrial

The environmental assessment concluded that there are no significant adverse impacts to wildlife, vegetation, and groundwater from the operation of Selkirk.

Risk assessment

The assessment of possible short-term (acute) effects (such as respiratory health impacts) arising from Selkirk’s operations indicated the maximum emissions for all the combustion gases, including background levels, were not significant. Long-term (chronic) effects were also negligible. A screening level ecological risk assessment found there is no potential for an ecological effect and a more detailed assessment is not necessary.