BUI xi Degradation of Aesthetics
What was the original problem?
Occasional oil sheens, algal blooms, objectionable turbidity, floating scum, debris, algae, and putrid material in Hamilton Harbour.
Listing Guideline: When any substance in water produces a persistent objectionable deposit, unnatural color or turbidity, or unnatural odor (e.g. oil slick, surface scum).
When the waters are devoid of any substance which produces a persistent objectionable deposit, unnatural color or turbidity, or unnatural odor (e.g. oil slick, surface scum).
What Has Been Done?
- City of Hamilton is managing Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs) to reduce amount of untreated sewage entering Hamilton Harbour. Primary treatment capacity has been increased at Woodward Waster\water Treatment Plant
- Upgrades to Halton’s Skyway Woodward Wastewater Treatment Plant are ongoing
- Spill regulations and industrial pollution prevention plans have been implemented provincially
- Yellow Fish Road teaches “Only Rain Down the Drain”, helping to prevent oil and other materials entering streams
How Are Things Today?
- Cyanobacteria blooms are both an aesthetic and health concern (toxins) with blooms lasting weeks
- Oil sheens have been reported by scientists working in Strathearne Slip
- Black tar-like “blobs” have been reported floating on the surface near Randle Reef
- Localized debris in shoreline corners occasionally removed by business operators reliant on recreation and tourism
- Average Secchi disc depths are generally around 2.5 m, but minimum values still are as shallow as 1 m
What Still Needs To Happen?
- Investigation into ways to prevent/limit cyanobacteria blooms. This issue goes beyond the Hamilton Harbour Remedial Action Plan
- Initiate tertiary treatment upgrades of Woodward Woodward Waster\water Treatment Plant to increase capacity and reduce phosphorus loading
- Complete Randle Reef Sediment Remediation project
- Continue improvements in the watershed, including stormwater management programs and stewardship
- Continue public education programs
- A monitoring protocol needs to be developed and implemented
When Will The Status Change?
- Key words are persistent and unnatural. Looking for no reports of persistent, unnatural issues for three consecutive years. The time frame for status change is consistent with the eutrophication BUI (viii) as reductions in algae are integral to both Beneficial Use Impairments.
For full information on BUI xi:
Photo Credit: Dave Heidebrecht