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Ontario supports clean, healthy Great Lakes

Wednesday, May 09, 2012   by: Staff



Greenhouse study prompts action

McGuinty government supporting clean, healthy Great Lakes

Ontario is acting to protect Great Lakes water quality by reducing phosphorus discharges that contribute to harmful and unsightly algae blooms.

recent study in Essex County found that many greenhouses discharged wastewater containing high levels of phosphorus into nearby creeks, which flow into Lake Erie.

The province is working with greenhouse growers to inspect and assess their operations, and to ensure our waterways are protected by undertaking measures to reduce phosphorus in their discharges.

The ministry will continue to test affected streams to monitor water quality progress.

The Great Lakes enhance the quality of life for Ontario families by providing drinking water as well as employment, recreation and environmental benefits in our communities.

Protecting our Great Lakes is part of the McGuinty government's plan to become North America's water innovation leader.


"Protecting the Great Lakes and their tributaries is vital to ensuring that everyone has access to safe drinking water, clean beaches and a healthy environment. We are determined to work with greenhouse operators to improve their environmental performance." - Jim Bradley, minister of the environment

Quick facts

Southwestern Ontario has the highest concentration of vegetable greenhouses in Canada.

When recycled greenhouse irrigation water quality is no longer useful for growing plants, it must be treated before being discharged to waterways.

Phosphorus is harmful because it's a major contributor to algae blooms that are sometimes toxic and also foul beaches. The study found that one waterway receiving greenhouse discharges has average phosphorus levels 38 times as high as nearby creeks.


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