Toronto Beach Report: The Water’s Fine

Written on Thursday, June 3rd, 2010 at 2:52 pm by nsalter
Filed under Neighbourhood Reviews.

Seven of Toronto’s 11 beaches are blue flag and as pristine as any lake up North, because of improvements that have been made to the sewage system, a city official says, citing the beaches as ‘absolutely safe to swim in.’

Recent changes having underground storage tanks, creating storm water ponds and even redirecting roof downspouts from entering the system.

The beaches in the city which are NOT blue flag (i.e. safe to swim in) include Marie Curtis Park, Sunnyside Beach, Rouge Beach and Bluffers Park and the reason is they are at the mouths of rivers.  Beach residents will be gratified to know that none of their own beaches fall into this category.

Pollution can get into the lakes when the combined sewer system gets overloaded with storm water which gets into the rivers and eventually ends up in the lake.  Another reason is that in some locations, birds are leaving an excess of waste.

Toronto’s treatment plant involves a system where solid components are physically screened out and the water is then pumped into a second tank where micro-organisms eat the remaining matter.

Finally, the micro-organisms are killed before the water is released back into Lake Ontario.  At no time is raw sewage ever supposed to enter the system; even rainwater that has been contaminated with sewage receives the primary treatment, and is then disinfected and chlorinated in the third part of the treatment process before it goes to the lake.

Knowing all this, will you swim in Lake Ontario?  Let us know!

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