Ontario’s dirtiest river also one of worst in Canada


 

 

Vince Talotta/torstar news service

 

The Don River, the dirtiest in Ontario, flows a mere 38 kilometres from its nearly pristine source on the Oak Ridges Moraine to its garbage-choked, oil-slicked mouth on Lake Ontario.



Encased in concrete walls for much of its length, poisoned by run-off from sewers and streets, the turgid Don is Ontario’s dirtiest river, and one of the worst in Canada.



The river, which flows a mere 38 kilometres from its nearly pristine source on the Oak Ridges Moraine to its garbage-choked, oil-slicked mouth on Lake Ontario, scored a lowly 34.8, on a scale of zero to 100, in an Environment Canada calculation of water quality, released yesterday.



The most common problem is a glut of phosphorous, chlorine and ammonia, mainly from human and animal sewage, fertilizer and road salt.



The Humber, Credit, and others in the region fared better in the ranking of 395 rivers across the country, based on averages of seven contaminants from 2003 to 2005. The absolute worst, anywhere, are Quebec’s Yamaska and Bayonne Rivers — despoiled by pollution from pulp mills and languishing at around 27 points.



The figures are contained in the third annual Canadian Environmental Sustainability Index, which also shows Southern Ontario has some of Canada’s worst air quality.




















cleanup plan




  • The city has a $1-billion, 25-year plan to clean up the big pollution sources — sewers that flush sewage, chemicals and fertilizer into the river, particularily during heavy rains.