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Niagara River Remedial Action Plan Stage 2 Update Report

Niagara River Remedial Action Plan Stage 2 Update Report

Appendix 16: Beach

Appendix 16: Beach Closings Technical Review The following individuals comprised the technical review committee for this impairment: Tom Edge, EC-NWRI (lead) David Brown, Brock University Murray Charlton, EC- NWRI Glen Hudgin, Public Health- NR Scott Mackay, EC- RPD Annie Michaud, NPCA Natasha Mihas, Public Health- City of Hamilton Susan Weir, Laboratory Services- MOE The committee’s feedback was provided in a written report which was used as the basis for writing this appendix. 1.0 Basis for Evaluating Impairment Status This BUI refers to the impacts of anthropogenic sources of bacterial pollution on recreational water quality. Specifically, it refers to impacts which are occurring within, and anthropogenic sources which arise within, the Ontario portion of the AOC. The direct impacts from bacterial pollution relevant to this BUI relate to public health advisories (“postings”) at designated public beaches. The following are key factors in assessing the impairment: 1. Records of public beach postings for E. coli exceedances and magnitude of E. coli exceedances - Are public beaches being posted at a frequency and duration, and are exceedances of the E. coli PWQO of a magnitude, which is indicative of a chronic bacterial contamination problem*? 2. Association of the above with human activity, including from livestock and companion animals - Are sources of bacterial contamination likely from within the AOC and are they related to human activity, including from livestock or companion animals? If beach water quality at AOC beaches is indicative of a chronic bacterial contamination problem as defined in the footnote below, then an impairment status of impaired is recommended. If beach water quality is not indicative of a chronic contamination problem, or if there is clear evidence that the source of contamination is not anthropogenic, then an impairment status of not impaired is recommended. If chronic bacterial contamination at beaches is anthropogenic, but not due to sources/causes within the AOC then an impairment status of impaired but not due to local sources is recommended. If important evidence is missing, or results are inconclusive, then an impairment status of requires further assessment is recommended. * A chronic bacterial contamination problem can be defined, by inference through water quality measurements or related records of public beach postings, as an unnaturally high concentration of fecal indicator bacteria (i.e.- E.coli) in the water column for extended durations of time and/or at an elevated frequency of such events. 162

Niagara river remedial action plan stage 2 update 1.1 Spatial Context for Evaluating Impairment There are two spatial scales which are considered in evaluating this BUI. The first is the Ontario portion of the AOC, which is the coarsest scale in assessing impairment. The second is a particular public beach, representing a more finite scale for evaluating impairment. Impairment status is evaluated in a hierarchical fashion from the smaller spatial scale to the larger. Therefore, the AOC is considered unimpaired when all or most sites are considered unimpaired based on the framework shown in table 34 above. Within the AOC, there is a further distinction between areas exposed to E. coli which have their source wholly within the AOC, versus areas where they may be exposed to contaminants arising from U.S. or upstream Lake Erie sources. In this case, sites along the Niagara River are considered as exposed to U.S. and Lake Erie sources, while other sites are not. This is an important distinction because the RAP is only capable of addressing stressors and associated beneficial use impairments which have their source/cause within the Ontario portion of the AOC, and will refer to other programs (e.g., U.S. RAPs, Lake Erie LaMP) to address sources from outside the AOC. Based on the above, impairment will be evaluated by beach, and then for the Welland River and Niagara River as separate zones within the AOC. 2.0 Available Evidence to Assess Impairment Status In support of the decision framework above, available background information is provided for the following: }} Location of public beaches in the AOC } } } Records of beach postings/PWQO exceedances at public beaches } Estimates and sources of E. coli loading from different sectors in the AOC 2.1 Location and Monitoring of Public Beaches in the AOC Currently, there are four public beaches in the Niagara River AOC (Table 1). Four additional historic public beaches, namely King’s Bridge Park Beach, Dufferin Islands Beach, Bowen Road Beach and Princess Street Beach, which were located on the Niagara River, have been permanently closed in recent years by The Niagara Parks Commission for reasons unrelated to water quality and they are no longer public beaches. 163

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