Nearshore water monitoring to improve quality

The Region of Durham has teamed up with the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA), as well as York Region, to monitor and look at what shapes Lake Ontario’s water quality in west Durham.

The Western Durham Nearshore Water Quality Monitoring program has been collecting water quality data from the nearshore of Lake Ontario since 2006, including by Durham Region’s Ajax Water Supply Plant intake and near the Duffin Water Pollution Control Plant outfall. This data has been used to further research within the Lake Ontario nearshore and help provide information so governments can make sound decisions and policy for the local environment, said a municipal statement.

The ‘nearshore’ generally includes the shoreline (or lake edge) and the area of the lake out to a depth of approximately 30 metres.

Nearshore water quality shows the effects stormwater and watershed activities can have on the lake which receives this water. Streams that empty into the lake affect the conditions of Durham’s western shoreline (Ajax and Pickering beaches).

With overall goals to better understand the general health of the lake and to find ways to improve its water quality, The Western Durham Nearshore Water Quality Monitoring program is one of the most extensive monitoring efforts completed on a nearshore zone in Lake Ontario.

The nearshore is an area where land, streams, marshes and the lake all meet—and an area where humans interact with and affect the natural environment. Conservation strategies are essential to maintaining both the ecology and the natural beauty of the nearshore. —Toronto and Region Conservation Authority.

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