A Toronto organization called the Lake Ontario Waterkeepers have released a really disturbing report about some of the city's most popular waterfronts. According to the report, E. coli levels in Toronto's Harbour are worse than ever and that's not all.
On top of the chilling levels of bacteria, the group also reported a concerning number of floatables in the harbour. Now they're calling on the city to do something about it, and they are.
The group tested Toronto's water regularly during the peak season from May to the end of September. In their report just released this week, they disclose the alarmingly high E. coli rates in the harbour.
On average, if the level of E. coli is more than 100 MPN/100 ml it's deemed unsafe. In some parts of the harbour, like the Bathurst Quay and Marina Four, had levels above 24,000 MPN at their worst points. Only one of the nine places tested, Outer Harbour Bay, had safe levels of contamination all year.
E. coli is only part of the problem, though. The bigger and more disturbing issue is the floatables found in the harbour. These include anything from used condoms, tampons, and syringes, and dead fish, rats, and birds.
The group counted at least 900 floatables over their observation period. They also went on to say that that didn't include the days when there were just too many to count. The worst offender was feminine hygiene products - the group discovered 246 tampon applicators, 164 pads, 32 tampon wrappers, and 28 tampons in their water observation samples.
The group made a number of recommendations to the city on how they can improve the water quality at the harbour, but the city has a plan of their own. The city is planning to address sewage overflow, which is largely responsible for water pollution with a $2 billion project.
The Don River and Central Waterfront project is a 25-year program made up of various projects to improve Toronto's sewage system. The project will look at improving pumps, capturing sewage so it doesn't overflow, and upgrading technologies.
Construction on the project began back in January of this year and will continue for the next few decades, as a continuous improvement initiative.
Source: Great Lakes Today