On this week's Living At the Barricades Podcast, author Dave Dempsey joins the show to discuss his book On the Brink: The Great Lakes in the 21st Century. Stay tuned for future book review editions of Living At the Barricades featuring interviews with a variety of prolific writers.
- Read Dave Dempsey's online journal "Great Lake Blogger"
Later this month, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper will appear before the Ontario Drinking Water Advisory Council to recommend that the the province protect the Great Lakes from tritium contamination.
Tritium is a form of radioactive hydrogen. It can cause cancer, genetic mutation, and harm to embryos. While it can be produced naturally, much of the tritium in the Great Lakes ecosystem is a result of ongoing pollution from Ontario's nuclear power plants. Our drinking water systems cannot filter tritium out of the water - what goes into the lake, goes into our homes.
Ontario has one of the weakest tritium standards in the world. Of all the countries with clean water objectives for tritium, only Russia and Australia have weaker standards. Most other countries, including France, the U.K., and the United States have clean water objectives that are between ten and seventy times more protective than ours.
Last year, Greenpeace released a detailed report describing tritium contamination around the Great Lakes. Two years ago, Toronto's Medical Officer of Health called upon the provincial government to bring Ontario's water quality objectives in line with other nations.
In our submission to the Advisory Council, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper is recommending that the province set the drinking water standard for tritium somewhere close to what we would expect to see in the natural environment. Waterkeeper believes it sends a mixed message to the nuclear industry if the Ministry says some pollution is okay. First and foremost, Lake Ontario is the drinking water source for millions of people and the natural home for humans, wildlife, and vegetation. Since tritium cannot be filtered out of our drinking water, common sense suggests we need to keep it out of our lakes entirely.
Following this public consultation process, the Ontario Drinking Water Advisory Council (ODWAC) is expected to recommend a new water quality standard for tritium.
You can read our submission here.
President and Waterkeeper for Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, Mark Mattson, will make a short presentation at the ODWAC Public Consultation Meeting on Tritium scheduled at 11:00am on Wednesday March 27, 2008.