Water Quality in Ontario Report 2012

This document is prepared by the Environmental Monitoring and Reporting Branch of the Ontario Ministry of the Environment every two years.

Executive Summary

The Ministry of the Environment has been monitoring and protecting water quality for the people of Ontario since 1972. Clean and abundant water resources are the foundation for the quality of life we enjoy in Ontario.

This year’s Water Quality in Ontario Report provides findings from the ministry’s water quality monitoring programs for Ontario’s lakes, rivers, streams and groundwater. The report features results for three main areas of water monitoring: nutrient and algal issues, contaminants and effects of climate change. It also features results for other issues affecting water quality such as invasive species and pathogens.

We measure the quality of Ontario’s water resources throughout the province. Every year we collect thousands of samples of water, sediment and aquatic life. Our laboratories test the samples for hundreds of elements and compounds. These include basic water quality indicators (e.g. pH, calcium and nutrients such as phosphorus) and pollutants (e.g. mercury, lead, PCBs and pesticides).

Our world-renowned water monitoring programs study what is currently affecting water quality in specific areas of the province and track water quality conditions over time. This information contributes to leading-edge science that we commonly publish in scientific journals, technical reports and more recently, the Water Quality in Ontario Reports. Our monitoring data are also available through the data downloads section of the ministry’s website. The ministry also reports on the ongoing work to protect Ontario’s drinking water through the Chief Drinking Water Inspector Annual Report and the Minister’s Annual Report on Drinking Water.

Click here to view the complete report.

Michelle LewinWater Quality in Ontario Report 2012