TORONTO (June 2) Yesterday marked the beginning of a new swimming season on Lake Ontario. Of 40 municipal beaches on the lake, 12 beaches in St. Catherines and Prince Edward County were safe for swimming and water quality information for the other 28 beaches in Mississauga, Toronto, Durham Region and Northumberland had yet to be released.
June 1st is the most important day of the year for Lake Ontario, says Waterkeeper and President Mark Mattson. This is the day we find out which municipalities are serious about beach management.
Lake Ontario Waterkeeper kicked off the swimming season by releasing a new report, entitled Investigating Municipal Beaches: Lessons from Bluffer's Park. The report is based on four years of research on Lake Ontario's beaches, and concludes that no municipality has kept beaches open 95% of the summer or completed a Beach Survey to identify the reasons for E. coli contamination. Both goals are set by the Province of Ontario to ensure public access to clean beaches.
Waterkeeper's report also describes the group's investigation at Bluffer's Park Beach in Scarborough. Waterkeeper found streams of E. coli-laced water draining from a nearby containment area into Lake Ontario.
It is quite possible that the source(s) of E. coli could be located and identified. Subsequently, a decision could be made with respect to each source to either eliminate or to treat the source or to divert it away from the park,â€? wrote biologist David Dillenbeck,
Lake Ontario Waterkeeper is an environmental justice organization based in Toronto and part of a global alliance led by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
Contact: Mark Mattson, President and Waterkeeper, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, (416) 861 1237.