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Lake Erie North Shore Watershed Plan - Niagara Peninsula ...

Lake Erie North Shore Watershed Plan - Niagara Peninsula ...

LAKE ERIE NORTH SHORE

LAKE ERIE NORTH SHORE WATERSHED PLAN Identification of Challenges in the Lake Erie North Shore Watershed The NWS (RMN 2006a) summarized a list of key water protection issues in the Lake Erie North Shore watershed. Additional issues have been identified by residents living in the watershed via public open houses and workshops in the spring and fall of 2008. A Land Management and Agricultural Best Management Practice survey (NPCA 2006a) (Appendix A) helped to identify land and water management issues in rural areas of the watershed. A description of the challenges facing the Lake Erie North Shore watershed are reported here. Landfill Sites Seven known closed dump/fill sites in the Lake Erie North Shore watershed were identified in the Groundwater Study (WHI 2005); all of which fall within the Port Colborne municipal boundary. In addition, the last active landfill in the study area which was located in Wainfleet closed December 2008. Landfill sites labelled as „old dump/fill sites‟ are areas that were once used as a dump or landfill. The subwatersheds where these sites are located are as follows; 3 in Wignell Drain; 1 in Welland Canal South; 1 in Lake Erie 4; and 2 in Point Abino Drain. The NWS (RMN 2006a) has identified concern that potential leachate could be discharging from these old dump/fill sites. Quarry Operations The NWS (RMN 2006a) has identified concern that the local quarries may be disrupting the natural flows of water and the Groundwater Study (WHI 2005) has identified concerns in terms of posing a potential threat to groundwater quality since extraction removes any overlying protection of soil and overburden, exposing the bedrock or shallow overburden deposits. In addition, water sampling conducted by the NPCA commencing in 2007 indicates that water quality at the sampling stations in Eagle Marsh Drain and Wignell Drain are influenced by groundwater discharge from upstream bedrock quarries (Michaud Personal Communication). In 2005, M.A.Q. Aggregates, Inc. submitted an application to the MNR in support of the Aggregate Resources Act to license a 70 hectare property in Wainfleet for partial aggregate extraction (Azimuth Environmental Consulting, Inc. 2008). The subject property, known as Reeb Quarry, is located south of Highway 3 and located on the adjacent lands to the north of Wainfleet Wetlands Conservation Area. The license was approved in 2009 subject to prescribed conditions as outlined in the Aggregate Resources of Ontario Provincial Standards. Some of the conditions include, but are not limited to, a Spills Contingency program will be developed prior to site preparation; if required a Certificate of Approval will be obtained for the discharge system, should water be discharged off site; and if required, a Permit to Take Water will be obtained for utilizing ground and/or surface water (MNR 2009a). Water Quantity Currently in the Lake Erie North Shore Watershed Plan study area there are 21 PTTW. Six of these permits are in the Township of Wainfleet and the remaining 15 are in the 100

LAKE ERIE NORTH SHORE WATERSHED PLAN City of Port Colborne. Four of the PTTW are for surface water takings and the remaining 17 are for groundwater takings. The purposes of these permits are as follows; two are for commercial uses, 3 industrial, 3 de-watering, 1 recreational, 7 for groundwater remediation, and the remaining 6 are for water supply (MOE 2009). Due to the moderate and significant stress assignments determined by the Water Budget and Water Quantity Stress Assessment (NPCA 2009c) study and an ongoing fluctuation of water demand it is recommended that this study be improved further by undergoing development of subwatershed scale hydrogeologic characterizations and the inclusion of precise actual takings in the demand calculations for large permitted takers (NPCA 2009c). Increased precision in the water budgets and modelling would provide better information to make informed decisions in regard to PTTW applications and for use in planning decisions and policy development. Groundwater Sensitivity The NWS (RMN 2006a) and the Groundwater Study (WHI 2005) have identified the majority of the Lake Erie North Shore study area as highly susceptible to groundwater contamination due to the thin overburden and bedrock outcrops. The thin overburden is unable to effectively provide the groundwater with sufficient protection from bacteria, sediment and other insoluble forms of contaminants that in a thick overburden would become trapped and filtered within the soil pores. In addition, the openings in the fractured bedrock as well as the porous limestone allow for the direct passage of surface water and contaminants to groundwater resources. The PPS in section 2.2.1(MMAH 2005) requires planning authorities to protect, improve or restore vulnerable and sensitive surface and ground water features, and their hydrologic functions. Likewise, it is the intent of the Regional Niagara Policy Plan (RMN 2007a) to protect, improve or restore the quantity and quality of ground and surface water resources [Section 7(A.2.2)]. Haldimand County is also committed to ensuring a sufficient supply of high quality is available. As stated in Haldimand County‟s Official Plan, the County understands that “The protection, conservation and careful management of water resources is necessary in order to meet both present and future needs. As contamination is extremely difficult, costly and sometimes impossible to rectify, prevention of contamination is the best strategy” [Section (B.1.10)]. Under the Clean Water Act, vulnerable groundwater areas that fall within an Intake Protection Zone will be protected under the Source Protection Plan and decisions made under the Planning Act must conform to the Source Protection Plan. Septic Systems A well designed septic system can function properly for years. The basic design of a septic system includes a septic tank and a drainage field. Wastewater from toilets, bathtubs, sinks and other drains flow into the tank where bacteria that is naturally found in the wastewater breaks down any solid material. The liquid effluent travels through the perforated distribution pipes to the leaching bed. The water is then absorbed and filtered by the 101

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