Beneficial Use Impairments

Hamilton Harbour Remedial Action Plan Beneficial Uses

I       II      III      IV       V      VI       VII       VIII       IX       X       XI       XII       XIII       XIV

Below are the 14 Beneficial Use Impairments (BUIs) in the Hamilton Harbour Area of Concern. BUIs identify specific problems in the Harbour that result in limited use of the area and are caused by unfavourable changes to the chemical, biological, or physical makeup of the water. These BUIs must be remediated (using the RAP) in order to delist Hamilton Harbour as an Area of Concern.

BUI I. Restrictions on Fish and Wildlife Consumption     Status: Impaired
Restricted consumption of specific fish and wildlife species is advised due to elevated levels of a variety of contaminants, including Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)
BUI II. Tainting of Fish and Wildlife Flavour     Status: Not Impaired
When survey results confirm tainting of fish or wildlife flavour
BUI III. Degradation of Fish and Wildlife Populations     Status: Impaired
Impairment of colonial watershed and the fish populations has been identified as a result of the loss of 65% of Hamilton Harbour fish/wildlife habitat, eutrophication, and contaminants
BUI IV. Fish Tumours and Other Deformities     Status: Requires Further Assessment
When incidence rates of fish tumours or other deformities exceed rates at unimpacted control sites that are locally relevant
BUI V. Bird or Animal Deformities or Reproduction Problems     Status: Requires Further Assessment
The expectation for HH is to have healthy self sustaining native wildlife populations. Herring gulls and snapping turtles are high on the food web and their health should be indicative of the broader wildlife community
BUI VI. Degradation of Benthos     Status: Impaired
Monitoring has confirmed impairment of the benthic community structure within the nearshore and deepwater zones of Hamilton Harbour. A benthic zone is the region at the lowest level of a body of water
BUI VII. Restrictions on Dredging Activities     Status: Deferred
When contaminants in sediments exceed biological and chemical standards, criteria, or guidelines
BUI VIII. Eutrophication or Undesirable Algae     Status: Impaired
Levels of phosphorus and ammonia remain elevated leading to the presence of undesirable nuisance algae
BUI IX. Restrictions on Drinking Water Consumption          Status: Not Impaired
Regardless of Hamilton Harbour not having its own drinking water intakes, it is reasonable that Hamilton Harbour outflows should not negatively impact local Lake Ontario intakes
BUI X. Beach Closings and Water Contact Sports     Status: Impaired
There are numerous posted advisories that bacteria levels (E. coli) exceed safe levels for swimming and other body-contact recreational activities at Bayfront Park Beach and Pier 4 Park Beach
BUI XI. Degradation of Aesthetics     Status: Impaired
Aesthetics are degraded as a result of the presence of oily sheen, debris, scum, poor water clarity, and blue-green algal blooms
BUI XII. Added Costs to Agriculture and Industry     Status: Not Impaired
Industry shouldn’t have to pay significantly more to use Hamilton Harbour water. Zebra mussels are a Great Lakes basin wide problem so should be excluded.
BUI XIII. Degradation of Phytoplankton and Zooplankton Populations     Status: Requires Further Assessment
 When phytoplankton and zooplankton community structure significantly diverges from unimpacted control sites of comparable physical and chemical characteristics
BUI XIV. Loss of Fish and Wildlife Habitat     Status: Impaired
Degradation of habitat, including the loss of 65% of Hamilton Harbour fish and wildlife habitat, has been identified as one of the causes resulting in the reduction or loss of colonial waterbirds and certain fish populations