Another significant milestone has been achieved bringing the Thunder Bay Harbour one more step closer to removal from the list of Great Lakes “Areas of Concern”.
In a letter to Remedial Action Plan Coordinator Samuel Pegg, Sandra Kok and Daniel Joyce, the Annex 4 (Areas of Concern) leads for the Canada-Ontario Agreement on Great Lakes Water Quality and Ecosystem Health, supported the conclusion that this important animal health impairments should be designated “not impaired”.
In 1987, when Thunder Bay was first identified as an Area of Concern, discharges of pollutants from local pulp and paper industries and wastewater treatment plants, as well as atmospheric deposition and urban runoff impaired the ecosystem health. Contaminants of concern included dioxins and furans, mercury, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which were identified as a potential risk for deformities in birds and animals.
Studies were planned to determine if deformities and reproduction problems were occurring due to chemical contamination and so the beneficial use was identified as “requires further assessment”.
Environment and Climate Change Canada undertook a number of studies to assess the reproductive health and contaminant levels of colonial waterbirds nesting within the Thunder Bay area from 2000-2008 and again in 2012, 2014 and 2015. The results of these studies demonstrated that there are no bird deformities or reproductive problems within Thunder Bay.
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