8 out of 11 Toronto beaches are Blue Flag certified
This means that, thanks to substantial efforts by the City of Toronto and other partners to reduce E. coli levels, most Toronto beaches now meet international certification standards for water quality, beach management, safety, and environmental education.
Implementation of the City of Toronto’s Wet Weather Flow Master Plan, sewage treatment upgrades, beach grooming measures, and cross-connection trackdown efforts have helped to significantly reduce the numbers of unsafe or “posted days” at Toronto beaches.
Going for a swim? Check the water quality conditions before you head out.
… But We’re Not Done Yet
The City of Toronto continues to work diligently to reduce contamination at waterfront beaches, and to address any remaining sources of E. coli.
The Don and Central Waterfront project is a $3-billion-plus initiative to improve water quality in the Lower Don River, Taylor Massey Creek, and Toronto’s Inner Harbour by improving stormwater management and keeping combined sewer overflow out of Toronto’s waterways. LEARN MORE.
Beach Closures De-listing Criteria
In 2020, the Toronto and Region Remedial Action Plan (RAP) updated the de-listing criteria for Beneficial Use Impairment (BUI) 10 – Beach Closures.
The new criteria were developed with input from the Beach Closures technical working group, and the Toronto and Region RAP team, both of which comprise experts from all three levels of government.
The de-listing criteria are:
“Toronto and Region Area of Concern (AOC) bathing beaches are open 80% or more of the swimming season as determined by Toronto Public Health.
At bathing beaches where this guideline cannot be achieved for 80% of the swimming season:
- Sources of fecal pollution and impaired water quality must be identified and pollution prevention and remediation plans implemented.
- Risk management strategies and communication plans must be implemented to protect human health.”
Actions to address these criteria include:
- Implementation of Toronto’s beaches plan
- Cross connection trackdown and disconnection (City of Toronto)
- Implement stormwater controls (such as swales and permeable pavements) to reduce or prevent runoff from beach parking lots
- Reduce animal e. coli loadings through management measures
- Sewage treatment plant upgrades — particularly at Ashbridges Bay Treatment Plant
- Don River and Central Waterfront Combined Sewer Overflow project
- Blue Flag
- Water quality component
- Environmental management component
- Implement improved e. coli testing methods, such as rapid testing
- City of Toronto’s Wet Weather Flow Master Plan