Red Rock Wastewater Treatment Plant Construction Underway

Construction of a new wastewater treatment plant for the Town of Red Rock began on May 1st. (Photo: infosuperior.com)

Former Nipigon Bay Remedial Action Plan chair Dave Nuttal said it. More recently, former Red Rock Indian Band Chief Ed Wawia said the same thing ­­— construction of an upgraded municipal wastewater treatment plant, for the Town of Red Rock, was a “must do” proposition. The two agreed on one other point as well; construction of the new plant would directly benefit water quality in Lake Superior’s Nipigon Bay.

As for the community where the new plant will be built, Mayor Gary Nelson says, “For the Township of Red Rock, this investment will ensure our community complies with current provincial water quality regulations and new federal rules that come into effect in 2030. A new reliable wastewater system will ensure the township can accommodate future growth and draw more businesses to the area.”

The Town of Red Rock is located on Nipigon Bay, the most northerly portion of Lake Superior. (Map courtesy google.com)

Both Ontario and Canada Contributing Funds

Construction of the new plant started on May 1st. Aegus Construction of Thunder Bay is the contractor.

The Government of Ontario is contributing more than $17 million, or two-thirds of the total project cost, while the Government of Canada is contributing over $8.5 million under the New Building Canada Fund – National and Regional Projects.

The municipality of Nipigon, located on the largest river flowing into the Great Lakes, the Nipigon, completed a wastewater treatment plant upgrade in 2009. (Photo: infosuperior.com)

Like Thunder Bay, Jackfish Bay, and Peninsula Harbour in Canada, as well as Duluth-Superior Harbour in Minnesota/Wisconsin and Torch Lake in Michigan, Nipigon Bay is one of several Great Lakes environmental “Areas of Concern” (AOCs). These are specific locations where Remedial Action Plans, or cleanup plans, are making substantial progress to address environmental issues like pollution, degraded water quality and aquatic habitat.

Significant progress has been made to improve water quality in Nipigon Bay. Construction of a new wastewater treatment plant for the Town of Nipigon was completed in 2009. In this June 15, 2009 Infosuperior file photo, taken as funding was announced for Nipigon’s plant, Town of Nipigon Mayor Richard Harvey is joined by Nipigon Bay RAP Public Advisory Committee Chair Dave Crawford, Public Advisory Committee member Betty Brill and Provincial Member of Parliament Michael Gravelle. (Photo: infosuperior.com)

Nipigon Bay is one of the four AOCs covered by the North Shore of Lake Superior Remedial Action Plans (RAP). Nipigon Bay was designated as an Area of Concern in 1987 primarily as a result of impacts related to:

  • upstream hydroelectric dams
  • the accumulation of wood fibre, bark, and other organic matter from historic log drives
  • effluent inputs from municipal and industrial sources.

You can find information about RAP progress in Nipigon Bay by visiting http://rap.infosuperior.com/nipigon-bay/.

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Full House: Mercury, Wildlife Concerns Discussed at TBay PAC Meeting

Now that’s what we call a full house: there was no sitting room left at the Thunder Bay Public Advisory Committee meeting, held at Lakehead University yesterday.

A diverse range of people came together to hear Doug Crump, a Biochemical/Molecular Toxicologist for Environment and Climate Change Canada, speak about herring gull egg contamination.

Access Doug Crump’s presentation here.

Also on the docket was an education session and lively discussion around the PAC’s recent letter regarding lack of action around mercury contamination in North Harbour. The letter was sent to the Chronicle Journal editor, federal and provincial environmental Ministers, federal Minister of Transport, local MPPs, and Thunder Bay Port Authority. PAC members look forward to letters of response outlining future plans for harbour clean up.

Meeting attendees included North Shore residents, environmental interest groups, government representatives, and members of North Shore Steelhead Association, Thunder Bay Field Naturalists, ERCO Worldwide, and the Nipigon Bay PAC.

Attendees listened intently to Crump’s research, eager to greet him with inquiries during a question and answer period after the presentation. RAP coordinator Jim Bailey notes that the question and answer period had to be extended due to the number of questions forwarded.

Dougall Media was in attendance to cover the proceedings, following Chronicle-Journal, CBC, and Magic 99.9 coverage earlier in the week. PAC co-Chair Frank Edgson was interviewed after the meeting.

InfoSuperior and the RAP office would like to thank everyone who came out to the meeting, and we hope to see you at our next PAC meeting May 25th, 2016. This post will be updated with video and audio as Dougall Media releases it.

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Thunder Bay Public Advisory Committee co-Chair Frank Edgson being interviewed by Dougall Media after March 23rd PAC meeting.



Letter to Editor re Harbour Mercury Contamination

Join us to discuss on March 23rd at Lakehead University, ATAC 3004 – 7-9pm. Event is free!

Note the slider (top right) in the document viewer to expand text size. Having trouble viewing the letter? View the text of the letter here.

The above letter regarding lack of cleanup action for mercury contamination in Thunder Bay Harbour appeared in the March 19th Letters to the Editor section of Thunder Bay’s Chronicle-Journal daily newspaper. The letter is from the Public Advisory committee to the Thunder Bay Remedial Action Plan and is signed by committee co-chairs Jean Hall-Armstrong and Frank Edgson. An introduction to the letter notes the letter had already been sent to:

  • Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada: Hon. Catherine McKenna
  • Minister of Transport: Hon. Marc Garneau
  • Minister of Environment and Climate Change Ontario: Glen R. Murray
  • Thunder Bay Superior-North MP: Patti Hajdu
  • Thunder Bay – Rainy River MP: Don Rusnak
  • Thunder Bay Superior-North MPP: Hon. Michael Gravelle
  • Thunder Bay-Atikokan MPP: Hon. Bill Mauro
  • Thunder Bay Port Authority: CEO Tim Heney, Director of Engineering & Habour Master Guy Jarvis


Thunder Bay PAC Meeting – March 23

Check in for the event on Facebook here!

The Public Advisory Committee to the Thunder Bay Remedial Action Plan, or harbour cleanup plan, will meet from 7 to 9 p.m. on March 23rd in Room ATAC 3004 at Lakehead University. Parking is available right beside the ATAC building and is free of charge.

A presentation on “Bird and Animal Deformities” will be made at the meeting by Doug Crump who works in the Wildlife Toxicology Group at Environment and Climate Change Canada. Discussion will also be had on the letter to the editor about a mercury clean up plan in North Harbour, Thunder Bay. Everyone is welcome to this free meeting.

Doug Crump has a wealth of experience in Great Lakes wildlife toxicology. For many years he has traveled extensively throughout the Great Lakes region, in both Canada and USA, collecting data including contaminant levels in herring gull eggs. Doug has been active at sites on Lake Superior in Thunder Bay and nearby Black Bay. The photo accompanying this post was taken while Doug was at work on Granite Island in Black Bay in 2013. This full set of photos from Doug’s 2013 field work on Granite Island provides an excellent demonstration of the work Doug carries out throughout the Great Lakes.

Bird and Animal Deformities have not been reported within the Thunder Bay Area of Concern although the status of “Requires Further Assessment” remains in place. Deformities in cormorants have occurred at a nearby colony on the Gravel Islands on Black Bay (Ryckman et al 1998). In the period of 1988 to 1994 the incidence of deformities was the lowest in the Great Lakes at 1.2 per 10,000, still elevated compared to areas outside the Great Lakes. Doug Crump’s presentation will provide more recent information useful in determining whether this item can be removed from the list of environmental impairments in Thunder Bay.

“Delisting Criteria” for this impairment, that is the rationale upon which a decision may be made to remove “Requires Further Assessment” status, is centered on contaminant levels in wildlife tissues. The delisting criteria for Bird and Animal Deformities can be read here.

You can also access the meeting online by computer, tablet or mobile phone. You can text questions to the presenter. We’ll be livestreaming meeting audio and you’ll be able to see meeting presentations as well. Join the meeting several minutes early to ensure everything is working properly. Ensure your volume is on and up.

Click here beginning at 6:45 p.m. on March 23rd for livestream audio of the meeting.


Livestreaming is being done on a trial basis and in the event of technical problems the on-site meeting will take precendence and the audio livestream will be discontinued.