Between Pickering and Ajax sits the Duffin Creek Water Pollution Control Plant (Duffin Creek WPCP) on the Lake Ontario shore. The plant currently receives raw sewage from more than 800,000 residents in York and Durham Regions. Right now, Duffin Creek WPCP has the capacity to emit 420 megalitres per day of effluent into Lake Ontario. With increased pressure to accomodate more sewage due to population expansion, York and Durham Regions are seeking an increase in outfall capacity to 630 megalitres per day.
This expansion would make Duffin Creek WPCP one of the largest sewage treatment plants in the province.
More municipal sewage is discharged to Lake Ontario than any other type of pollution. Raw sewage contains human waste and the pathogens it can harbour (such as cholera, typhoid, and hepatitis B), microorganisms, toxic chemicals, heavy metals, and excreted pharmaceuticals. Sewage releases following secondary treatment can be toxic to fish and wildlife, cause algae and bacteria growth that make beaches unsafe for swimming, and threaten the integrity of our aquatic ecosystems. Nutrient loadings in sewage plant effluent contribute to problem algal growth, including the Cladophora algae prevalent along Lake Ontario’s shorelines.
Read Lake Ontario Waterkeeper's concerns here.