Waterkeeper submits comments on the latest Source Water Protection Plan Development on Lake Ontario.
The Ontario government enacted the Clean Water Act [CWA] in 2006. The CWA establishes forty Source Protection Areas grouped into eleven Source Protection Regions. One such region is the Credit Valley, Toronto and Region, and Central Lake Ontario Source Protection Region [CTC Region] which consists of three source protection areas: Credit Valley, Toronto and Region, and Central Lake Ontario Source Protection Areas [CLOSPA]. The CLOSPA spans a total of 638.6 square kilometres and sits on the north shore of Lake Ontario. Entirely within Durham Region, the Area encompasses a number of municipalities including the City of Pickering, City of Oshawa, Municipality of Clarington, and the Towns of Whitby, Ajax, Scugog, and Uxbridge. It includes 15 distinct watersheds, including Lynde, Oshawa, Farewell, Harmony, Soper, and Black Creeks.
Lake Ontario is the sole municipal drinking water source for the CLOSPA. Several major pollution sources that are threats to the water quality and quantity in Lake Ontario are present in the Area. Three nuclear power plants sit directly on the shore of Lake Ontario in the CLOSPA: Pickering A, Pickering B, and Darlington. The Area is also home to heavy industry and historical contamination, and sewage pollution, the major cause of beach closures and general water quality problems in Lake Ontario, is a significant issue in the CLOSPA.
The Proposed Assessment Report, which is the subject of this comment, was released to the public in July 2010. The Assessment Report is a technical document required by the CWA that identifies and classifies all water issues and threats to the quality and quantity of drinking water sources in the region. The report also identifies the areas that are most vulnerable to these threats. The conclusions reached in the Assessment Reports will serve as the foundation for the Committee’s development of the final Source Protection Plan.
The Source Protection Plan for the Central Lake Ontario Source Protection Area has the potential to be an important new tool for environmental protection in the region. However, without clear, accessible, and detailed data on all potential drinking water threats in the regions, including specific information about protecting Lake Ontario from historic, current, and future sources of contaminant, the effectiveness of this tool will be limited. Until the Committee has considered threats to drinking water based on lake-intakes and including emissions from industrial sources and nuclear power plants, the Assessment Report will not provide a strong basis for the development of a Source Protection Plan.
• Provide detailed information in the Assessment Reports on individual sites considered potential threats to drinking water.
• Re-evaluate threats to drinking water using criteria applicable to lake intakes, rather than land-based considerations.
• Conduct a detailed evaluation of industrial threats in the Area.
• Complete an evaluation of identified industrial threats, incorporate that information into the Proposed Report, and resubmit it to the public for comment.
Read LOW's full submission here.