Excerpt from WaterCanada magazine’s July/August issue – “A power plant works to mitigate E. coli that threatens the sandy shores of Toronto’s Cherry Beach“, by Leslie Hetherington, as printed in the
On a summer day, residents and tourists often flock to one of Toronto’s many Lake Ontario beaches.
However, leisure activities can be curtailed by high levels of Escherichia coli (E. coli) in the lake water. Although most E. coli strains are harmless, some can cause serious health problems to humans who swallow them or swim in water that has been contaminated by them. To protect the public, Ontario warns against swimming when tests show 100 E. coli-colony-forming units per 100 millilitres (CFU/100 mL) of water at a specific beach and has set this value as a Provincial Water Quality Objective (PWQO).
As a local natural gas-fired power plant with a community focus and an active ecological sustainability strategy, the Portlands Energy Centre (PEC) is well aware of the threats E. coli pose to nearby Cherry Beach, an eco-labelled Blue Flag beach for its adherence to strict global standards.
The Blue Flag is a voluntary eco-label that works towards sustainable development of beaches and marinas through strict criteria dealing with water quality, environmental education and information, environmental management, safety, and other services.
The 550-megawatt (MW) PEC was built in 2008 to meet 25 per cent of Toronto’s electricity needs, primarily during peak demand times, and offset emissions from Ontario’s coal-fired generating stations. During operation, it takes water from Toronto Harbour’s ship channel and turning basin for generation processes and cooling, treats it on site, then releases it into the discharge channel and back to Lake Ontario’s Outer Harbour.
Some E. coli in sanitary sewer and storm water runoff from Toronto neighbourhoods north of the plant enters the ship channel and turning basin from two of the city’s overflows and then enters PEC’s water intake. From there, it may be inadvertently transferred to the Outer Harbour through normal discharge of cooling water, and could potentially reach the popular Cherry Beach.
As part of the its Certificate of Approval for water permits, the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) requires the PEC to implement an E. coli control program for the water it uses, but the plant’s management chose to go further.
In 2008, it hired EcoMetrix Inc., an environmental consulting firm, and embarked on a comprehensive four year E. coli monitoring program during the summer months that included the ship channel, the discharge channel, the intake basin, the Outer Harbour, Cherry Beach, and the Eastern Gap.
During the first summer, the firm established a baseline by measuring E. coli concentrations before the plant was operational. As expected, these data revealed no direct relationship between E. coli in the discharge channel or the ship channel during pre-operations.
The consulting firm followed this research in 2009 by looking for relationships between E. coli levels and various aspects of the plant operations. This included studying the effects of operational factors, including volume and temperature of the cooling water intake discharge flows. The team also studied how rainfall influenced E. coli concentrations. In the third summer, team members collected daily samples for 22 weeks to research potential associations between E. coli in cooling water effluent and E. coli at Cherry Beach.
Efforts also included measuring E. coli levels throughout the Outer Harbour after significant rainfall events to narrow down the most probable source of E. coli that could potentially impact Cherry Beach. Findings suggested that the Keating Channel running from the Don River, via the Eastern Gap, was the most likely source of E. coli to affect the popular beach.
Monitoring studies found that changes to flow volume and water temperature caused by plant operations did not appear to influence E. coli concentration in the cooling water effluent. Similarly, E. coli levels in the discharge water were generally the same as those in the intake basin. From this they concluded that on its own, discharged water from the plant was unlikely to increase E. coli concentrations at Cherry Beach.
The same could not be said for precipitation. “We saw E. coli concentrations typically spike to 3,600 to 8,700 CFU/100 mL, during the two to seven hours after we received at least 10 millimetres (mm) of rain within a 24-hour period,” explains Robert J. Eakins, an associate and senior fisheries ecologist at EcoMetrix. “Our modelling studies further indicated that when these E. coli levels reach 3,500 CFU/100 mL, they could potentially cause corresponding levels at Cherry Beach to rise above 100 CFU/100 mL.”
More importantly, in 2011, the team began to test the effectiveness of using a specialized hyper chlorination process to treat the cooling water effluent to reduce E. coli in it. They pumped a small amount of sodium hypochlorite into the effluent, followed by sodium bisulfate to neutralize and reduce chlorine concentrations to levels below 0.01 milligrams per litre before it’s discharged, as specified in the Certificate of Approval. The impact was almost immediate; E. coli levels in the effluent decreased by approximately 90 per cent within five seconds of treatment.
“With these results, we began to ask what steps we could take to treat more than the mandated amount of water we use and create farther reaching benefits,” says Curtis Mahoney, general manager at PEC. “We coordinated with the City of Toronto and the MOE to implement a larger-scale control program to mitigate E. coli that threatens Cherry Beach and help maintain Blue Flag swimming conditions, even during seasonal periods of heavy rainfall.” …
This summer, the team plans to collect hourly samples before, during, and after significant rainfall events to explore potential program refinements, such as shortening the duration of each chlorination treatment.
With PEC’s program and concerted efforts from other organizations, this summer should offer residents and tourists many carefree hours enjoying Toronto’s Cherry Beach.
Leslie Hetherington is communications director for Hardy Stevenson and Associates Ltd.
Posted in Art, Collage, Educational, Environment, Environmental concerns, Nature, Science and Technology
Tagged Almonte, Aylmer, Barrhaven, Bearbrook, bing, Blackburn Hamlet, Buckingham, Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Carleton Place, Carp, casselman, Chelsea, Cherry Beach, Chrysler, Clarence Creek, Cumberland, EcoMetrix, Escherichia coli, Eternally Pure Water Systems Inc, Fitzroy Harbour, Gatineau, Google, Greely, Hammond, Hardy Stevenson and Associates Ltd., Hawkesbury, Kanata, Keating Channel, Kemptville, Lake Ontario, Leslie Hetherington, Limoges, Luskville, Manotick, Marathon, Metcalfe, Ministry of the Environment, Munster, Navan, North Gower, Ontario, Orleans, Osgoode, Ottawa, Ottawa East, Ottawa South, Ottawa West, Portlands Energy Centre, Quyon, Rainsoft Ottawa water treatment products sales and service in Ottawa and all surrounding areas, Richmond, Russell, Sarsfield, South Mountain, St. Albert, Toronto, Vanier, Vars, Vernon, Water Canada magazine, water treatment Rainsoft products in Ottawa and all surrounding areas, Yahoo, Yelp
Brain Power Studio sings for Sick Kids Hospital
YOU CAN HELP!
The Ottawa Comic Jam is co-sponsored by DragonHead Studio and Beth Stevenson’s Newmarket-based Brain Power Studio. The latter has gathered to sing and cut snowflakes to make a video for the Holiday Season. Every click on the Frosty video will help generate the size of the donation Brain Power will be making to the Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto.
It only takes a few minutes to click, watch and share. Brain Power has been instrumental in helping to support the Jam over the years. It’s awesome that we can give back to a great cause.
“Brain Power Studio: Frosty the Snowman for Sick Kids” – published on Dec 17, 2012…. Please pass this video along as the more views we get, the more money we donate to Sick Kids! Thank you!
This Holiday season Brain Power Kids raised their voices to help raise money for Sick Kids Hospital. We made snow for kids who can’t get out in the snow this year. Please distribute widely!
Posted in Art, Educational, Health Concerns, Innovative technology, Laughter, Music, Science and Technology, Video, Video
Tagged Brain Power Studio: Frosty the Snowman for Sick Kids, Cancer, Christmas and holiday season, Conditions and Diseases, fundraiser for Toronto Sick Kids Hospital, Health, Holiday, Hospital for Sick Children, Organizations, Ottawa, Toronto
Ontario’s Highlands boast some of the most scenic rivers, lakes and forests in the province of Ontario. It’s all so close, and yet so far away from it all. Ontario’s Highlands is nestled in an area 30 minutes west of Ottawa and just 2.5 hours traveling from town to town along our scenic roadways from Toronto. Many people visit us to relax and enjoy our down to earth hospitality, while others seek the outdoor adventure of their choosing.
“FAB 5 OF SUMMER SWEEPSTAKES”
1 OF 5 DREAM GETAWAYS THIS SUMMER.
SWEEPSTAKES CLOSING DATE ~ deadline for entering the Sweepstakes is Saturday, June 30th, 2012 at 11:59 pm EST.
GETAWAY ONE ~ THE ADRENALINE SEEKER
Quick Breakdown ~ 2 night stay at RiverRun Rafting and Wilderness Resort; full day of High Adventure Rafting; passes for the Mustang Experience at Calabogie Motorsports Park; 2 breakfasts, 1 dinner and 1 lunch at the resort; dinner for two at Calabogie Peaks Resort AND MORE!
GETAWAY TWO ~ SCENES OF ART & NATURE
Quick Breakdown ~ 2 night stay at Heather Lodge; full day “A Natural Work of Art” guided tour presented by Yours Outdoors, including a hands-on pottery work shop; day passes to Haliburton Forest & Wildlife Reserve, including passes to the Wolf Centre and a Walk in the Clouds Canopy Tour; 2 breakfasts and 1 dinner at the lodge; lunch provided by Gravity Coffee House during the art tour; dinner for two at Sir Sam’s Inn AND MORE!
GETAWAY THREE ~ CULTURALLY CONNECTED
Quick Breakdown ~ 2 night stay at Code’s Mill Inn and Spa in Perth; tickets to a show at Classic Theatre Festival; tickets for a Rideau Canal Boat Tour; “Fun in the Falls” museum passport; breakfasts at the Inn; dinner for at The Stone Cellar; dinner at Fiddleheads Bar and Grill AND MORE!
GETAWAY FOUR ~ WELLNESS & WILDERNESS
Quick Breakdown ~ 2 night stay at Marmora Inn, including access to their heated pool and sauna; full day wellness retreat at Grail Springs Wellness Retreat and Health Spa, including yoga, spa treatment, guided hike and access to meditation gardens; treatments for two at the Evergreen Acres Holistic Wellness Centre; 2 breakfasts and 1 dinner at the Inn.
GETAWAY FIVE ~ LEISURE ON THE LAKE
Quick Breakdown ~ 3 night stay including meals at Land O’ Lake Lodge; Friends of Bon Echo Park interpretive boat tour of Mazinaw Lake; Full day 21’ Vectra Pontoon Boat rental from Smart’s Marina.
CLICK LINK BELOW TO ENTER CONTEST ~
We wish all entrants the best of luck and
“HAPPY DREAM GETAWAY”
to the winner!
Posted in Children's Entertainment, Educational, events, Food, Fun Shopping, Geography, Nature, Relaxation, Sports
Tagged 5 Dream Getaways this summer, Bon Echo Park, Calabogie Motorsports Park, Calabogie Peaks, Calabogie Peaks Resort, Canada, Carp, classic Theatre Festival, Code's Mill Inn and Spa, Dinner, embrum, Eternally Pure Water Treatment Systems Sales & Service for Ottawa and all surrounding areas in Ontario and Quebec, Evergreen Acres Holistic Wellnes Centre, Fab 5 of Summer Sweepstakes, Fiddleheads Bar and Grill, Grail Springs Wellness Retreat and Health Spa, Gravity Coffee House, Greely, Haliburton Forest, Haliburton Forest & Wildlife Reserve, Heather Lodge, Kanata, Kemptville, Land O' Lake Lodge, Manotick, Marmora Inn, Mazinaw Lake, Nature reserve, Navan, Ontario, Orleans, Ottawa, outdoor recreation, Rainsoft Ottawa Water Treatment Systems Sales and Service for Ottawa and all surrounding areas in Ontario and Quebec, Recreation, Rideau Canal a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Rideau Canal Boat tours, RiverRun Rafting and Wilderness Resort, Russell, Sir Sam's Inn, Smart's Marina, Spa, Stewart Park in Heritage Perth, Sweepstakes, Tay River, The Stone Cellar, Toronto, Wildlife Reserve, Yours Outdoors
DON’T MISS THIS!
A new eco-adventure series called The Water Brothers will start airing on TVO March 19th, 7 pm EST.
The show follows real-life brothers Alex and Tyler Mifflin as they travel around the world showcasing the challenges faced by water, our most valuable and extremely troubled resource.
Originally from Toronto, the Mifflins have effectively created the show on their own: Alex is the lead researcher, co-writer and co-host, and Tyler is co-host, director and co-producer.
In the first season, the show features locations such as the Mekong River in South East Asia, the Arctic Circle, the disappearing coral reefs of the Caribbean, and the Carp-infested waters of the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers.
Tyler is a skilled cinematographer and emerging director. He graduated from the University of British Columbia with a major in film production. Tyler got his start in film and television industry at a young age when he shot and starred in an episode of the YTV reality show Road Scholars, for which he traveled all over France, Italy and Switzerland, exploring many cultural wonders and doing extreme sports such as snowboarding, wakeboarding, mountain biking and rock climbing. Tyler has filmed projects in Cambodia, Laos, Belize, Mexico the U.A.E, and all over Canada, from the rough mountaintops of the Rockies to the urban streets of Toronto and Vancouver. Tyler recently completed a course in 3D filmmaking presented by the Canadian Society of Cinematographers. Tyler’s hobbies include any sport that involves a board, scuba diving, rock climbing, reading, playing music (harmonica, drums) and video games, and spending time at his family cottage on Georgian Bay.
Tyler’s Water Issue
1 billion people don’t have access to clean drinking water. Water is a finite resource, and it is being taken for granted. It is important that we do what we can in our everyday lives to sustain water for future generations.
The idea to embark on The Water Brothers project first arose when Alex started working alongside his brother at SK Films in 2009 conducting research for IMAX® films in development. After receiving a degree in International Development and Environmental Studies from Dalhousie University and the University of King’s College earlier that year, the decision to join the family business and then begin The Water Brothers project were easy since they both allowed him to combine his interests in science and the environment and use film to explore how humans can harmonize our relationship with water and the natural world. When he isn’t hosting television shows, reading, enjoying music or thinking about the worlds biggest social and environmental dilemmas, Alex likes to spend his time playing sports, watching sports, taking scuba diving trips, and hanging out with friends surrounded by nature at the family’s Georgian Bay island cottage.
Alex’s Water Issue
Climate change is having a devastating effect on several places around the world. The great thing is that we can make little changes to curb it, like driving hybrid cars or turning off your lights when you’re not home. We can all make a difference.
To coincide with UN World Water Day, the Mifflins will launch their free mobile app called “Quench,” which tells users in Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area where the closest water refill stations are.
The Mifflins will also be appearing at the Green Living Show in Toronto on Eco Youth Day: April 13, 2012.
WaterBrothers’ Home Page:
“H2 oh-oh” follow up info: