Federal Challenges Fish are cross jurisdictional = Federal Fisheries Act Water is cross jurisdictional = No Water Act WHY NOT?
Provincial Challenges Provinces control aggregate and fossil fuel extraction. Aggregates and fossil fuels = Provincial $ Provincial Ministry of Transportation is largest purchaser of aggregate materials for road repair. The closer to the source, the cheaper.
Waterloo Moraines Complex Geology Along coastal areas, geological composition is relatively consistent and “predictable”. The Waterloo Moraine is located at the intersection of multiple glacial lobes. The geology is very complex and less predictable.
Why protect the Waterloo Moraine? This system of glacial formed aggregates gathers municipal water for our region and communities downstream. It has been filtering, transporting, storing water and offsetting flood risk for 15,000 years for free! The sediment distribution controls flow and flow rates to our fisheries, wells systems, the Grand River & Lake Erie. Water volumes are need to dilute contamination issues and to keep wells running. Grand River supports the same Gross National Revenue as Nova Scotia and contains 51% of Canadas fish species It is a Natural Heritage River.
Contamination Issues Effluent: 29 waste water plants drain effluent into the Grand River Animal wastes: 290,000 cows in the Grand River Watershed produce waste = five million people. Leaky Landfills: The Greenbrook well contaminated by 1,4 dioxane, Middleton Wells in Cambridge at risk too. Waterloos Landfill is leaking vinyl chloride. Industrial waste: Elmira had contamination of NDMA (nitrosodimethylamine) from Unroyal/Chemtura. Elmira lost its groundwater supply. In Cambridge, North Star was sued for trichloroethylene (TCE) contamination.
Opportunities to improve-Composting toilets can conserve water & reduce wastes in waterways. Wastes are reduced to 2% of its mass in 5 years and end product safe for landscaping.-Biofuel recovery from sewage and farm wastes can replace gas from fracking to heat homes and run cars-creation of aggregate materials from sewage and farm wastes reduce dependency on gravel extraction for roads and construction materials-Biochemical in-situ remediation of contaminates including TCE is available. Natural enzymes “eat” toxins on site.
Challenges in Protecting it Provincial Growth Targets may exceed carrying capacity of the GrandRiver and deplete the moraine. Gravel projects place the moraine and Grand River at risk. Todays policies cannot be grandfathered so older plans approvedyears back dont have to comply to todays laws. They pose a risk. We dont know how much water we have. Our knowledge of groundwater volumes is limited to pre-development studies. Some consulting firms make money re mediating the situations theycreate. There is money in destruction for them but heavy costs totaxpayers.
Challenges cont. The MNR does not recognize municipal policies so municipally protected lands (like the ESL) are still at risk for aggregate extraction. The MOE reviewed our request for a Waterloo Moraine Act but the scope excluded socio- economic, health and long term sustainability issues as well as down stream impacts.
Challenges cont.- The review lacked regard to the last five yearsworth of source water protection legislation.- The MOE report did not assess whether the ecological capacity of the moraines can realistically accommodate the projected growth in the region.- To protect the system, cross jurisdictional and Federal water policies are needed.
Ontario Environmental Commissioner of Ontario 2009/2010 Annual Report If the principles of watershed-based planning are applied, and the environmental and socio-economic context of the moraines are examined to assess the cumulative effects of development, the ECO believes that the current provincial policies do not adequately protect the ecological and hydrogeological integrity of moraines. Watersheds should be a key unit within land use planning in which to frame decision-making.
ECO cont. The population projections for Growth Plan communities were established before the future water and wastewater infrastructure was identified, and their associated costs and environment impacts, were assessed. This clearly indicates that provincial policies, such as the Growth Plan, favor economic development over sustainable planning processes.
ECO cont. Not only does the Growth Plan fail to require that population allocations be adjusted for communities with watersheds close to or already at carrying capacity, it favors large-scale infrastructure projects to overcome natural limits. Waterloo is proposing to address any future water shortages by constructing a pipe to Lake Erie to pump water in and out of the city. Not only do infrastructure projects like these override natural ecological carrying capacity, they are also extremely costly and energy intensive, and as a sewage and water systems, ("infrastructure") they are exempt from natural heritage protections in the PPS and Greenbelt Plan despite their potential for significant environmental effects.
ECOs recommendation:The ECO recommends that the Ministry of MunicipalAffairs and Housing amend the Provincial PolicyStatement to require that long term ecologicalfunction and biodiversity of natural heritage systemsare maintained. http://www.eco.on.ca
Lake Erie Pipeline - Cost: $1.2 billion (2008) - no treatment or transportation costs estimates - Does not include cost to upgrade intake facilities. - Water delivered uphill - The Grand River would be “infrastructure” and lose heritage status.
Lake Erie:Under Stress Toxic Algae Issues Growing “Dead Zone” Declining water volumes Contamination issues Climate Change Zebra Mussel blocks intake Invasive species Canadian and US water taking Bulk Water Shipments
International Joint Commissionbiennial report on the state of the Great Lakes Calling Lake Erie the "poster child" for eutrophication, the commissions U.S. co-chair, Lana Pollack, said much of the lake is back to being coated with slimy green algal blooms in the summer, as it was in the 1960s and early 70s. "They said, Well, we have this one fixed. Well, we dont have this one fixed," she said. March 9, 2011 CBC NEWS http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/windsor/story/2011/03/09/tech-ijc-great-lakes.html
IJC: full report page 33It is clear that human and ecosystem healthin the Great Lakes basin cannot beprotected without protecting ground-waterresources. http://www.ijc.org/rel/news/2011/110308_e.htm
TAKE ACTION! -Source Water Protection Act must include Quarries as a risk -Environmental Assessments for Quarries in Ontario