McMaster engineering professor says ‘a lot of thought has gone into it’
The notion of putting a lid on a mass of coal tar contamination may sound odd, but it’s actually a common method for remediating these situations, says the project manager of Randle Reef.
Jonathan Gee, manager of the Great Lakes Areas of Concern division of Environment Canada, said the plan to encase the worst part of the contamination in steel has worked in numerous other places. “Famous last words” Over two years back, we did a story about Randle Reef here at pics4twitts. The disgusting coal tar is Canada’s Big Dirty secret.
Hamilton’s Randle Reef has been so polluted It is the largest “known” deposit of Coal Tar by man anywhere in the world.
Randle Reef is a shallow area in Hamilton Harbour, on Lake Ontario near U.S. Steel’s Hamilton Works that is heavily contaminated with TOXIC COAL – TAR. I can remember working at Burlington and Wentworth Streets, and in the 1970s Stelco and Dofasco were dumping right into the Harbour, they were heavily fined and then entered large Environmental Clean-Up Projects with their steel industries.
Part of the Great Lakes shorelines being degraded is due to sediment and contaminent imputs. A range of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) include PCBs and PAHs. The polyaromatic (or polyclclic) aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are chemical compounds that consist of fused aromatic rings that do not contain heteroatoms or carry substituents. PAHs occur inoil, coal and tar deposits and are produced as byproducts of fuel burning whether fossil fuel or biomass. As a pollutant, PAHs, are a concern because some compounds have been identified as carcinogenic (as Randel Reef). PAHs are lipopilic – meaning they mix easily with oil rather than water. The larger PAH compounds are less water-soluble and less volatile (i.e., less prone to evaporate). Due to these properties PAHs in the Environment are found primarily in soil, sediment and oily substances, as opposed to in water or air. However, PAHs are also a component of concern in particle matter suspended in the air. PAHs are one of the most widespread organic pollutants. So, consider living along this area of Burlington Street in Hamilton where some families have lived for many years, and the effects of PAHs to aquatic and human health.
PAHs is not a new issue to researchers or to The Hamilton Port Authority, as this has been evident for at least 10 years ! For example a 2,000 study by Queen’s University addressed the risk to fish using bioavalability as the risk factor of fish and Polynuclear Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) in sediments. It is the sediments in Hamilton Harbour that contribute to it being on the International Join Commission’s list of Great Lakes toxic hot spots. Are you comfortable with that situation ? I am not ! We have a magnificent Lake Ontario Harbourfront that would be the envy of many areas around the world – so if everyone did a little bit to help out as “Hamiltonian’s” it could go a long way to clean up sediment issues in Hamilton Harbour, including toxins like PAHs. One group to contact is the Bay Area Restoration Council (BARC) for further information.
The Queen’s University study in 2,000 found “there are protocols available for testing the acute toxicity of sediment – borne compounds to aquatic invertebrates and fish, but there are non for assessing bioavailability to fish.” This study found sediment – borne crude oil, coal – tar, or pure PAH caused an increase of MFO activity to TROUT FINGERLINGS exposed in a four-day bio-essay. Think about TROUT – because the health of a lake is determined by HEALTHYTROUT. These researchers were aware that the trout took both organic and inorganic sediments. So, their testing included (1) area vs volume of sediment,; (2) sediment characteristics (organic vs silt vs clay vs sand; (3) mixing and aging of spiked sediment; (4) freezing vs cold – storage of natural and spiked sediment; and, (5) establishment of gradients through sediment dilution vs sediment volume. Their findings were “induction varies with the amount of contaminated sediment in a tank in a repeatable way. The operational word is “repeatable” – it will happen over and over again. Now from this study’s findings, look at Trout in Hamilton Harbour, do they swim the Harbour and oops…skip Randle Reef…hardly ! Therefore, due to Randel Reef being the second most contaminated sediment site with PAHs in Canada – all Hamiltonians including parents, and , schoolteachers training our young people’s minds should be concerned and develop scientific projects to assist the fish and other aquatic life at Randel Reef in Hamilton Harbour so they will not swim to other areas of the Harbour and spread PAHs.
Hamilton’s own, McMaster University Department of Chemistry and Biology in a 2,000 study addressed the coal – tar contaminents in Hamilton Harbour. Their sediment sample came from Hamilton Harbour and a major contributory. Their chemical findings were, as follows: “bioassays using a TA 100-type strain (YG 1025) were prerformed to assess genotoxicity arising from polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Fractions exhibiting mutagenic activity contained PAH with molecular masses = THESE FRACTIONS CONTAINED OVER 80% OF THE GENOTOXICITY ATTRIBUTABLE TO PAH.” That is statistically (mathematically) significant to scientific research ! They concluded ” Suspended sediments collected near areas known to contain high level of coal – tar contamination [ Randal Reef ???? ] in bottom sediments contained HIGHER LEVELS OFGENOTOXIC PAHs than suspended sediments collected from other areas of the Harbour. Okay, come on public, high school teachers, get the questions on the blackboard or on the laptops – Why ? and, Why Not ! Why do the bottom sediments contain higher levels of genotoxic PAH ? What do the coal – tar contamination contribute to PAH ? How does this contamination affect aquatic life and the aquatic food webs in Hamilon Harbour ? How does this highly toxic PAHS affect humans living in the Randle Reef area along Burlington Street in Hamilton ? What further research has been developed on PAHs ? Then develop a morning field trip to Hamilton Port Authority and follow- up with an afternoon section to the field trip to Hamilton Harbour with a scientist ( PhD candidate) from McMaster University to show sediments to young students. Then have a “community appreciation night at your local school and show results of the field study to parents, local officials and the general public.” The more we give our young Hamiltonian’s knowledge, the more likely some of them will become scientists and discover unrevealed answersabout our beautiful Hamilton Harbour.
A Happy New Year to all from DW Photography and readers images and our writers. Special thanks to Jacqueline, Lois and Steve
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the readers here at DW Photography.Each passing year brings many obsticles to the revitalization of our natural habitat
throughout the world, We are still destroying what we should be preserving. More than any time on our calendar our best friend Mother Nature needs our help.
Pick your small piece of nature and keep it clean and healthy. Find garbage that other people have left behind. Take ownership “stewardship” of your environment more than ever this year.
Thanking you in advance
Living in Hamilton has many perks with the proximity of Lake Ontario and Hamilton Harbour. By foot, Bike, Bus or drive down to the Harbourfront Park, Cootes Paradise, Princess Point, The Harbourfront Trail is very long with many attractions starting in Hamilton then Burlington and further.
Known for its heavy industrial waterfront, Hamilton will surprise new visitors.
The past decade has dramatically changed the waterfront bringing with it new recreational uses and restored natural and cultural features.
The Hamilton Waterfront Trail (7.5km):
follows Hamilton Harbour from Princess Point (Cootes Paradise) through Bayfront Park, Pier 4 Park, the Discovery Centre and on to HMCS Haida. You’ll also find Williams Coffee Pub, a Waterfront Ice Cream stand and the Hamilton Harbour Queen Cruises nearby.
At Cootes Paradise there is an impressive staircase with a cycling trough leading to Dundurn Park and some amazing lookouts. From here you can connect to Burlington via York Street- extreme caution is needed when crossing the ramp from the 403.
Note: The staircase at Coote’s Paradise is quite large and steep and can be a challenge for cyclists with full paniers.
The Hamilton Beach Recreation Trail:
follows the Lake Ontario shoreline for about 8 km taking people from Burlington under the Lift Bridge to Confederation Park and into the former Stoney Creek. Interpretative panels describe the history of Hamilton’s waterfront and explain the restoration process. Please note there is a new way to cross the very busy Eastport Drive/Beach Blvd.-take the path that goes under the bridge rather than crossing the road.
The Hamilton Beach Trail
Confederation Park – Van Wagner’s Beach Rd. and Centennial Parkway
Van Wagner’s Beach beside Lakeland Community Centre – Van Wagner’s Beach Rd. East of Confederation Park
Hamilton Harbour Fish and Wildlife Restoration Project
Wednesday December 28 2011
As Site Coordinator the next post will be a year in review at Elements Photoblog.
I wish everyone a great New Year with the Optimism we need to keeps Nature reviving.
Many new images of people, places and a few older images.
All the best
In 1997 the operation of a carp barrier/fishway began at the Cootes Paradise marsh, blocking the passage of carp into the marsh during spawning season but allowing the migration of all other spawning fish. As a result, aquatic vegetation has made a dramatic recovery throughout Cootes Paradise and the harbour. Fisheries monitoring has indicated a positive change in the composition of the fish community, including an increase in numbers of top predators and in species diversity. Recently, over 200 spawning pike were counted at the Cootes Paradise fishway. Prior to restoration, only 19 pike were recorded at the fishway. Similarly, waterfowl numbers in Cootes Paradise have increased dramatically due to the increased distribution and abundance of aquatic plants. Birds have been staying longer in the marsh and gaining strength for their migratory flight south.
The Grindstone Creek pike spawning marsh has been a 20-year restoration effort. The Grindstone Trail, connecting Cherry Hill Gate to Sunfish Pond is open to the public and provides educational interpretation and protects the flood plain by directing the large number of visitors to the boardwalk. Tours are open to groups and can be arranged by contacting Royal Botanical Gardens.
To date, habitat restoration efforts and improvements to public access have laid a strong foundation for continuing enhancement. Research and monitoring provide essential feedback for the design and construction of the next phases of habitat and public access projects.
Scientists with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the Canadian Wildlife Service, McMaster and Brock Universities and the Royal Botanical Gardens are co-ordinating monitoring and research to advance fish and wildlife habitat restoration throughout the Great Lakes. The Fish and Wildlife Habitat Restoration Project in Hamilton Harbour and Cootes Paradise proposes to create 372 ha of fish habitat, 299 ha of wildlife habitat, 16 km of shore habitat for fish and wildlife and 9 km of trails. Substantial progress has already been made:
Shoreline rehabilitation and a new trail at Chedoke Creek
Development of a carp barrier/fishway, aquatic plant nursery and breeding and nursery ponds for amphibians and reptiles in the Cootes Paradise marsh
Pike spawning habitat, rehabilitated flood plain habitat and a new boardwalk at Grindstone Creek
Restoration of the lower Grindstone Creek, employing recycled Christmas tree
Shoreline naturalization and development of underwater reefs at Bayfront Park
Shoreline naturalization, beach restoration, development of reefs and a new trail at LaSalle Park
Shoreline naturalization, and the development of colonial nesting bird islands, underwater reefs, trail and lookout at the Northeastern Shoreline
Sand dune rehabilitation and a new trail at Burlington Beach
Decline and Recovery of Cootes Paradise
Once nearly 100% covered by emergent and submergent
aquatic plants, the extent of marsh vegetation has declined to
85% cover in the 1930s, and to only 15% in 1985. A variety
of stresses were responsible for this decline. Human development
and farming in the watershed contaminated the marsh’s
tributary streams with sewage effluent, eroded soil, and chemical
runoff. Within the marsh, carp activity physically damaged
and destroyed the marsh plants. Carp activity and eroded soil
from the watershed also muddy the marsh water, limiting light
penetration and plant growth. Controlled lake water levels,
and the introduction of non-native plant species have also
disrupted marsh ecology. For the restoration of Cootes Paradise
to be successful, RBG and other partners in the HH-RAP
agreed that an effective carp control program and pollution
abatement programs in the watershed were necessary.