Deputation on 2002 Water Sampling Program
(President of the Federation of Tiny Township Shoreline Associations)
At the meeting of Council on Monday, September 30, 2002
I've given you the collated results of samples taken in recreational waters in Tiny Township this summer. They will be posted on our website so that everyone can consult them later this week. You already have in hand the results from the 12 locations sampled by the Health Unit. Now you can see how these results fit with other sampling done in the Township. This includes the results from samples taken by staff at the four beaches in Awenda Park, and by the staff at Camp Marygrove. It also includes results from work done by volunteers at the two concessions of Woodland Beach, at Edmore/Georgian Heights, Deanlea, Bluewater Georgina Wendake, D'Aoust's Bay, Carusoe Bay, Balm, Cawaja, Nottawaga, Pennorth, and Thunder Beach.
This summer's volunteer program began with a brush-up session at Balm Beach. Eric Watson of the Midland Simcoe County District Health Unit demonstrated the proper way to take Bay samples and answered questions about the sampling of streams and creeks. As before, the Health Unit provided bottles and forms and received the analysis data from the laboratory.
The big story this summer as you all know was the large number, and persistence, of beach "postings" in Tiny. It is dispiriting to note that of the 87 beaches monitored by the Simcoe County District Health Unit in the County, Tiny stood out dramatically for the number of its postings.
In the problematic stretch of shore at the south end of Tiny, Woodland Beach Park was posted three times, Siesta Drive five and Laurel Avenue six times.
In the Report on last summer's sampling program that we gave you this May, one of the recommendations was that the Health Unit add three beaches that our results suggested might point to a serious problem. The Health Unit took on two of these – Siesta and Laurel – and they have been posted again and again this summer. When the Health Unit refused to monitor Tamarack Trail, the Woodland Beach Association decided to do beach sampling there, taking four or five samples each week for the last six weeks of the summer. Had those samples been taken by the Health Unit, Tamarack Trail would have been posted all six weeks. The E. coli numbers there were so elevated in the final week of testing that Central Ontario Analytical Laboratory in Orillia, the laboratory that analyzed the volunteer results, spontaneously (and without asking for payment) did dilutions, reporting them at 2,600, 1,700, 1,200, 1,500, and 760. (These are probably not out of line with the Health Unit's results in the same week, at nearby Siesta Park, where the five samples taken by the Health Unit all had counts >1000.)
In addition there were four postings at Dunsford Lane (which the Health Unit calls "Wymbolwood"), three at the 8th (HU - "Ossossane"), five at Jackson's Park, three at Balm, and one each at the 12th (HU - Rowntree), and the 13th (HU - Wahnekewening).
A characteristic of these beach postings (which were based on samples taken on the morning after the weekend) was that the retest numbers a couple of days later were usually low. I've attached the bar graph for the Health Unit's results at Jackson Park and you can see how pronounced the variation is between the weekend impacted figures and the mid-week figures. This strongly suggests that humans are the culprits – through heavy use of faulty septics? stirring of sediments by bathers on hot weekends? some other activity? In spite of what Dorene Trunk said earlier today, the problem probably is not caused by geese.
Streams: Of the seven streams that were problems in 2001, only two continued to have six or seven samples in excess of 600 E. coli per 100 ml of sample this year. Conversely, several streams had higher numbers than last year.
Of the eight recommendations we made in our Report on last year's water program only two have been acted on –
Recommendation #6 – which asked the Health Unit to continue its monitoring of public beaches and to add the three beaches discussed above
And Recommendation #7 - that beach associations be encouraged to monitor the water fronting their shoreline. More than a third of beach associations that participated last year did so again this year.
So far nothing has been done about the other Recommendations. In the light of this summer's postings, much the most important would appear to be:
Recommendation #2 – that "the Township of Tiny commission a study into the sources of contamination along the western shore from the town line to Concession Road 17 W., with special reference to the two areas where water quality is seriously impaired, and that remedial action be taken as required." And
Recommendation #3 – that " the Township of Tiny commission studies of the seven problem streams, and that remedial action be taken as required." And
Recommendation #4 – that " the Township direct its consultant (C. C. Tatham and Associates) to give priority for inspections of septic tank systems to those areas of shoreline exhibiting questionable water quality and also to installations adjacent to those streams identified as having high E. coli counts."
We understand your dismay at finding that none of the obvious provincial ministries will accept responsibility for investigating the sources of pollution in our recreational waters. But we urge you to act anyway.
The one area firmly under your control is septics and septic inspections. We urge that priority be given for septic inspections to properties adjacent to streams that have had high numbers and also that re-inspections be undertaken as soon as possible in areas that have had postings.
In May, it was suggested that Keith Sherman of the Severn Sound Environmental Association make a proposal about investigative work. We urge that he be asked to produce a proposal for a study that tackles the full extent of the problem. This Township depends on the quality of its recreational water; this morning you heard Roger Neal speak about the impact of postings on businesses at Balm Beach; there might well be an even more serious impact on the value of the Township's shoreline properties and thus on this Township's tax base if the problems we experienced this summer are allowed to get worse. There is grant money available for research on water pollution. We urge you to acquire some of it, and begin to tackle the problem.