Lake Ontario Waterkeeper and Environment Hamilton are calling on the provincial government to modernize outdated rules that allow Ontario's steel plants to dump lead into the Great Lakes.
Waterkeeper filed an application today under Ontario's Environmental Bill of Rights on behalf of the two organizations. The request for tougher restrictions on lead releases identifies four steel plants with permits to dump a combined total of up to 87.4 kg ? almost 200 lbs ? in one day. The plants are: Algoma Steel (Sault Ste. Marie), Dofasco (Hamilton), Stelco Hilton Works (Hamilton), and Stelco Lake Erie Works (Nanticoke).
?These rules do little to protect our Great Lakes,? says Waterkeeper Mark Mattson. ?This is of particular concern in Hamilton Harbour, one of the most vulnerable areas we know of.? Two of the four steel plants are located in Hamilton Harbour.
The application also suggests that Ontario?s lax lead rules are out of step with other environmental legislation. Lead is widely considered one of the most toxic substances, a probable human carcinogen that can lead to developmental and reproductive problems in humans.
The request for tougher rules includes documentation proving Ontario?s steel plants are capable of meeting a much higher standard than the one imposed by the provincial government.
It comes on the heels of a report by the Commission for Environmental Cooperation, which says that more lead is released into the North American environment than any other known or suspected carcinogen. That report singles out hamilton's Stelco Hilton Works and Dofasco as two of Canada?s ten most polluting facilities.
The submission is available online at www.waterkeeper.ca.
President & Waterkeeper
416.861.1237, cell 416.666.8961