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Swim Drink Fish houses four water monitoring hubs in the Great Lakes region:
Toronto, Niagara, Zhiibaahaasing First Nation, and Kingston.
Find out more about how your support targets water quality issues in these regions
With 138 km of shoreline and 300 km of rivers running through ravines, Toronto is a city in a park on the water. The Toronto Hub was the first of our monitoring hubs. Living in an urban city, Torontonians can become alienated from Lake Ontario by assuming that the entire shoreline is polluted. The Toronto Hub encourages residents to enjoy the water in places that are not contaminated.
“Toronto is a huge city with millions of people living so
close to Lake Ontario. It’s important for Torontonians to be aware
of how close they are to the lake so that they can take advantage
of it. We need to strengthen the connection between Torontonians
and Lake Ontario. Monitoring water quality so people know where
and when they can interact with the lake is one way to do that.”
- Alysse Mathalon, Toronto Community Monitoring Coordinator
Located in the Niagara region, the Lake Erie - Niagara Hub monitors water quality in Lake Erie. The hub is hosted by the Niagara Coastal Community Collaborative , which prioritizes healthy beaches, nature based shorelines, and habitat and species.
“In Niagara, the beaches people are using are under-monitored.
Lots of people are swimming in parts of Lake Erie that are not
monitored by the region, meaning they don’t know what the water
quality is. We are here to fill the monitoring gap. We are also
engaging a new generation in becoming water stewards. During this
summer's monitoring program, we saw a 240% increase in youth engagement.”
- Gregory Ford, Niagara Community Monitoring Coordinator
Zhiibaahaasing First Nation
The Zhiibaahaasing First Nation Hub, hosted by Zhiibaahaasing First Nation, is located on the west end of Manitoulin Island in the North Channel of Lake Huron. The hub provides traditional and scientific knowledge for youth, teaching them why clean water is so important.
Sewage pollution isn’t the biggest challenge at the Zhiibaahaasing First Nation Hub. Instead, the Zhiibaahaasing community sees debris like cigarette butts and styrofoam wash up on shore at the beaches on Manitoulin Island and Cockburn Island. The hub is able to notice changes in the waters and educate the community about litter and pollution.
“Through the Zhiibaahaasing First Nation Hub, I’ve helped my
community become more informed about the water.
I don’t think most people realize how much E. coli in the
water can vary in a small area. I also don’t think they realize
that the aesthetics of the sites don’t necessarily reflect how
much E. coli is in the water. Only water monitoring can tell us
where the water is clean or polluted.”
- Chelsea Antoine, Community Monitoring Coordinator, Zhiibaahaasing
We’ve been fighting for Kingston’s waters for the past two decades. The Kingston Hub is an extension of our ties with this waterfront community. The hub launched in the summer of 2020, making it our newest monitoring hub.
“In Kingston, lots of people use the waterfront, and it’s only
increasing. But a lot of residents don’t realize that there are
certain places and times that the water might not be as clean as
we would hope. During COVID-19, I saw more people outside and more
people getting out on the water than ever. It really drove home
the importance of monitoring water quality here.”
- Hannah McDonald, Kingston Community Monitoring Hub Assistant
Sewage is the problem. You are the solution.
Together we can make 2020 less sh*tty.
Problem: Sewage pollution
Did you know that we are dumping raw sewage into our water? In the 21st century!
CSOs, or combined sewer overflows, exist in every major city in Canada. Combined sewers are exactly what they sound like: underground pipes that combine both stormwater and sewage. When there is heavy rain or reduced capacity at wastewater treatment plants, these sewers discharge untreated sewage directly into our rivers, lakes, and oceans. Gross, right?
These antiquated systems overflow much more often than you’d think:
In 2017, 270 million cubic meters of sewage flowed into the natural waterbodies where people swim, fish, and paddle. That’s 100,000 olympic sized swimming pools of sewage in just one year.
Sewage in our waters is:
Bad for your physical health.
Every year, an estimated 400,000 Canadians get sick from
swimming in contaminated water.
- Bad for your mental health. 50% of Canadians have reported worsening mental health since the pandemic began. We need access to water and outdoor spaces to improve our mental health.
- Bad for the environment. Sewage outfalls destroy ecosystems and create dead zones that cannot sustain aquatic life. This also affects the fish that we eat and the water that we drink.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Your donation is part of the solution.
Swim Drink Fish has been connecting people with water since 2001. We employ twenty passionate individuals who are devoted to safeguarding your water. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on your donations to employ the amazing team that monitors your water and shares accessible water quality information with the public.
One of the ways we connect people to water is through citizen science. We test the water that you use for recreation, like beaches, marinas, and paddling courses. To know if water is clean enough for recreation, we need to collect samples on a regular basis.
Why? Because recreational water quality is like the weather — it changes all the time.
Your donation means we can:
- Connect you to your local waters
- Collect water samples and monitor water quality
- Share water health data
- Restore the places you love
That’s the recipe for a swimmable, drinkable, fishable future. That’s what we do.
Help us make 2020 less sh*tty. Become part of the solution: donate to Swim Drink Fish today.
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