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15-16-18 Mile Creek - Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority

15-16-18 Mile Creek - Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority

Figure 13: water quality

Figure 13: water quality sampling and potential contaminants 26

STATION Table 5: water quality data monitored by the NPCA (2006) WATER QUALITY RATING BIOMAP RATING FACTORS AFFECTING WATER QUALITY E. coli E. coli Based on the data collected between 2003 and 2006 at station FF001, water quality in Fifteen Mile Creek is poor primarily due to high nutrient concentrations. For example, concentrations of total phosphorus obtained from station FF001 routinely exceed the Provincial Water Quality Objective of 0.03 mg/L (MOE 1994). Sources of nutrient enrichment include rural and agricultural runoff, and faulty septic systems. Erosion and sediment loading also result in elevated concentrations of suspended solids in Fifteen Mile Creek. Water quality results also indicate poor overall water quality in Sixteen Mile Creek. For example, exceedances of phosphorus, nitrate, suspended solids and E. coli were observed. Water quality sampling in Eighteen Mile Creek revealed similar results with an overall poor rating and reports of total phosphorus and E. coli exceeding Provincial Water Quality Objectives. Biological Monitoring and Assessment Program Benthic macroinvertebrate sampling has been completed at surface water quality monitoring stations using the BioMAP (Biological Monitoring and Assessment Program) protocol. Benthic macroinvertebrates are defined as the larger organisms inhabiting the substrate of waterways for at least part of their life cycle. Benthic macroinvertebrate species that are commonly found in the Niagara Peninsula include clams, snails, leeches, worms, and the larval stages of dragonflies, stoneflies, caddisflies, mayflies and beetles. At sites where water quality is impaired, the organisms found are less sensitive and therefore more tolerant to environmental stresses than organisms that would have historically occurred. The benthic population at an impaired site would typically be dominated by these more tolerant species, and as a result, biodiversity at the site would be quite low. BioMAP assessments were completed in 2006 in Fifteen, Sixteen and Eighteen Mile Creeks at stations FF001, SX001 and ET001, respectively (Figure 14). Results from all three stations indicate that water quality is impaired due to nutrient enrichment. In the Eighteen Mile Creek watershed benthic invertebrate sampling was deemed impaired due to a low density of invertebrates despite a relative abundance of habitat, thereby indicating poor water quality as the contributing factor (Table 5). Historical Water Quality Data The NPCA in conjunction with the Welland District Office of the Ministry of Environment and Energy (MOEE) conducted an environmental assessment of water quality conditions for several Lake Ontario tributaries. Water quality in the study area was evaluated using selected chemical, physical, and microbiological parameters as well as rainfall distribution data. Water samples were collected bi-weekly at 17 stations located throughout the study area from March 1995 to November 1995. Results confirmed that water quality impairment is a concern throughout the study area, with elevated levels of total phosphorus, turbidity, suspended solids, total Kjeldahl nitrogen, nitrite, and E. coli at all stations sampled. Results also confirmed a correlation between peak concentrations and rainfall events. The 1996 monitoring program had 3 stations on Fifteen Mile Creek, 4 stations on Sixteen Mile Creek, and 2 stations on Eighteen Mile Creek. Total phosphorus concentrations at all stations exceeded the Provincial Water Quality Objective in almost all samples collected (Forsey 1996). Groundwater Resources A Groundwater Study (Waterloo Hydrogeologic Inc. 2005) has been completed for the land area within the jurisdiction of the NPCA. The study includes a series of maps illustrating recharge/ discharge areas, well locations, overburden thickness, bedrock 27

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