News in Niagara

Niagara River water quality has improved but challenges still exist

12/6/2012

A new policy brief released on the Niagara River reveals that water quality has improved but toxins continue to be present in the surrounding ecosystem.

These toxins have resulted in loss of fish and wildlife habitats, degradation of water organisms, restrictions on eating fish, and beach postings.

Back in the 70's, hundreds of chemical plants, steel mills, oil refineries, and other industries discharged more than 250 million gallons of wastewater into the Niagara River each day.

This led the Canadian and American governments to take action with the Remedial Action Plans (RAPs) to try and reverse the negative effects on the water.

In all, 43 RAPs were developed for areas of concern within the Great Lakes basin, two of them in the Niagara River area in Ontario and the U.S.

The Niagara River RAP is in the third and final stage of the process.

Some of the positive strides made so far include 99 per cent reduction of discharges to the Niagara River and three out of four public beaches located in the Niagara River Area of Concern are meeting water quality targets for safe swimming.

Some areas of concern that remain include restrictions on fish consumption, degradation of fish and wildlife populations, loss of fish and wildlife habitat and the closing of some beaches.

If you want to read the full policy brief or get your own copy just go to brocku.ca/niagara-community-observatory.

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