[URBAN NOTE] “How Toronto Is Dealing With Its Waterfront Pollution”
Torontoist’s Nikhil Sharma takes a look at the state of pollution in Toronto harbor, and Lake Ontario generally.
The Toronto region was designated an area of concern by Environment Canada in 1986. In particular, the government noted issues with Lake Ontario: “Overflows of stormwater mixed with raw sewage are a serious problem following heavy rains in the lower portions of the Don and Humber Rivers and along the waterfront.”
Forty-three areas—12 of which are Canadian—have been identified as having high levels of environmental harm under the 1987 Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement between Canada and the U.S.
For some local environmental groups, that’s a concern.
According to a survey done by environmental advocacy group Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, out of 166 water samples collected from the city’s harbour last summer, a third failed to meet federal standards for safe boating and paddling.
The group made 10 sampling trips between July 15 and September 27. Samples were taken and tested for the presence of E. coli bacteria at Bathurst Quay, Harbourfront Canoe and Kayak Centre, and the marina by PawsWay.
Lake Ontario Waterkeeper founder and president Mark Mattson says the Toronto Harbour is not monitored regularly, so his group did their own monitoring program. He says Lake Ontario Waterkeeper is encouraging the City to monitor other areas of the waterfront where there aren’t beaches.