Collingwood Harbour Delisted Area of Concern
A critical component of the RAP strategy was to reduce the amount of phosphorus entering the harbour, preventing excessive growth of aquatic plants. Phosphorus removal at the Collingwood Wastewater Treatment Plant was optimized through an innovative demonstration project that achieved the required improvements at a fraction of the cost of plant expansion (approximately $5 million savings).
A strong emphasis was placed on educating the community about the environmental significance of water and energy conservation, waste reduction and hazardous product alternatives through the community-based Greening of Collingwood. One of the most innovative projects developed through the Collingwood RAP process was ENVIROPARK, an environmental playground designed to educate children about choices they can make that contribute to a cleaner harbour.
The RAP included implementation of a comprehensive fish and wildlife rehabilitation plan. Eroding stream banks were naturalized and stabilized, fish spawning and rearing habitat was enhanced, a favourable ecosystem for osprey, water birds, amphibians and reptiles was created, and a community volunteer network was mobilized to control the spread of Purple Loosestrife and to monitor wildlife populations.
A major source of toxic contamination to the harbour, Collingwood Shipyards, was closed in 1986. Collingwood Harbour was chosen by the Government of Canada's Great Lakes Sustainability Fund (formerly the Great Lakes 2000 Cleanup Fund) as a test site for a demonstration project, which removed sediment in the harbour where contamination by heavy metals was of concern. An innovative technology was tested for the first time in North America, and the cleanup marked a crucial step toward the complete restoration of the harbour.
Water quality in Collingwood Harbour has improved significantly. By 1994, phosphorous concentrations met provincial objectives as well as RAP delisting guidelines and excess algae is no longer a problem. Modifications to the sewage treatment plant have resulted in a reduction of bacteria released into the harbour, and harbour sediments no longer contain elevated concentrations of metals, detectable organic compounds or PCBs.
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