Water Pollution in Toronto

From the Scarborough Bluffs to the Etobicoke Lakeshore, our city boasts beautiful views of Lake Ontario. Not only has TEA worked in the past to make sure we had Blue Flag swimmable beaches, we regularly engage in efforts at City Hall to prevent pollution from entering Lake Ontario.

Toronto’s drinking water source is Lake Ontario and we need to do more to protect it. Every day, Toronto’s homes and businesses flush polluted water down the drain.

This wastewater is contaminated with much more than just bacteria from human waste. Pharmaceuticals, harsh cleaning products and other household hazardous waste is often dumped down the drains. Many of Toronto’s businesses and institutions dispose of chemicals through the sewer system such as industrial strength cleaning products and degreasers, heavy metals, and much more.

Even though Toronto Water can remove some of the contaminants when they treat the wastewater at their four treatment plants, many toxic chemicals are released into Lake Ontario. In 2011, these plants released over 7 tonnes of Cadmium, Mercury, Lead and Nickel into the lake.

TEA plays an important role in monitoring existing policies, such as the Sewers By-law, to ensure that water polluters are being held accountable.

In 2014-2015, we are focusing our attention on strengthening the Pollution Prevention Plan requirements of Toronto’s Sewers By-law and adding new substances of concern to the list of chemicals Toronto Water monitors and manages.

We are also a member of the Health Impact Assessment Stakeholder Group for the Highland Creek Treatment Plant, which is reviewing technology options to replace their old polluting incinerators in Scarborough.

Read Water Pollution blog posts here.