3 years ago

Niagara River Remedial Action Plan Stage 2 Update Report

Niagara River Remedial Action Plan Stage 2 Update Report

Figure 21: Performance

Figure 21: Performance of individual beaches within the Niagara River (Ontario) AOC between 2003 to 2008 It can be seen that the number of exceedances past the Provincial Water Quality Objective have improved since 2005 for the Binbrook Conservation and Ball Street beaches. At these beaches while there were a few cases where the 20% limit, relative to the delisting criterion, was surpassed - they were infrequent and rare. These exceedances were also predictably associated with local significant rainfall events (see next criterion). However, examining the data for the Queens Royal beach there appears to continue to be a concern since the number of exceedances appears to have increased in recent years. Delisting Criterion: iii) Any severe exceedance of Provincial Water Quality Objectives is rare and predictably associated with local events such as significant rainfall events. While there were cases over the past 3 years where the 20% limit, relative to the delisting criterion, was surpassed - they were infrequent and rare at the Binbrook Conservation and Ball Street beaches. In 2008, the percentage of exceedances for Ball Street Beach was 27% and in 2009 was 7%. It is felt that the 2008 incidences at Ball Street beach were predictably associated with local significant rainfall events as during the summer of 2008. It should be noted that in 2008 right across Ontario there were extremes of rain events reported. It should also be noted that typically the E. coli numbers do not get as high at the Ball Street beach as at Queens Royal Beach. Binbrook Beach is located within the Binbrook Reservoir Conservation Area in the upper Welland River watershed. The major source of fecal pollution (E. coli) impacting the beach water quality is from water fowl. Water quality at Binbrook beach is monitored through the City of Hamilton’s Safe Water program during each swimming season. 62

Niagara river remedial action plan stage 2 update However, at Queens Royal Beach the 2008 levels did not improve in 2009. As mentioned previously it is suspected that the prominent source for E. coli levels at the Queens Royal Beach is a storm water outfall located directly on the beach. 100 A special point of concern was that on July 21 st 2008, at the Queens Royal Beach the E. coli count exceeded 1,000 CFU/100ml (geometric mean). It should also be noted that over the 7 years shown above the incident in 2008 was the only incident where the count was this high directly at any of the beaches in the AOC. Although this level was found at the Queens Royal outfall several times in 2009. The E. coli reduction achievements that have been accomplished at the beaches in the Niagara River AOC are due to the efforts by the Niagara Region, City of Hamilton and the NPCA. An example of these efforts is the innovative technique that was employed by the NPCA to control the sources of E. coli: }} At Binbrook Conservation beach alternative habitat was created for the geese (see side bar) }} At Chippawa Conservation Area beach goose waste is collected and disposed of. Both of these efforts have had a direct impact on the reduction of beach closings in the AOC. The Niagara River AOC has successfully achieved all of the delisting criteria at all the beaches except the Queens Royal Beach. Due to the remaining issue at the Queens Royal Beach, the Niagara Region and the town of Niagara-on-the-Lake have agreed to complete further monitoring at this beach and take appropriate action. This task has been identified in the Niagara River RAP 5- year work plan. Binbrook Conservation Beach A success story Over the years, the NPCA has implemented a variety of mitigative measures to address agricultural and rural issues that have impacted Binbrook Beach. For example, the NPCA implemented the Ministry of Environment and Energy’s “Clean Up Rural Beaches” program (CURB), beginning in 1988. The program purpose was to prevent pollution from rural sources to reduce the frequency of rural beach postings in Ontario. Under CURB the ministry made funds available for projects such as improving manure storage, milkhouse washwater disposal systems, fencing and crossings to restrict livestock access, and private sewage systems. The program was implemented at Binbrook and surrounding area and was successful in reducing the number of beach closings to zero for three consecutive seasons. One of the key actions was to restrict gull access to the beach. This was accomplished by installing netting around the beach area. In 1994, the NPCA initiated a “Rural Water Quality Program” to assist landowners to recognize and solve problems contributing to poor water quality. The program approach was modelled after CURB but expanded to include rural non-point source monitoring and remediation for sub-watersheds within the Niagara River Area of Concern. The program replaced CURB and its development was supported by Environment Canada, through the Great Lakes Cleanup Fund. 1 More recently, since 2005, steps have been taken at Binbrook by the NPCA to move geese out of the beach area by providing alternative habitat more suitable for their requirements. This initiative, in combination with some other factors, is considered to be the main reason for the dramatic decrease in beach postings at Binbrook during 2006, 2007 and 2008. The success story is again reflected in the data for 2009 when the Binbrook Beach was open during the entire swimming season. 100 (personal correspondence Glen Hudgin, Manager, Environmental Health, Niagara Region Public Health Department) 63

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