Pollution Control at Lake Banook and Lake Micmac
Regional Council has directed the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) to implement actions to mitigate phosphorous and bacteria loading into Lake Banook and Lake Micmac, as well as to prepare cost estimates for future actions to mitigate loading of phosphorous, bacteria, and other pollutants to be considered in the 2021-2022 budget cycle.
The CAO has also been directed to review the feasibility through the 2021-22 capital budget process to implement a pilot project to install stormwater best management practice infrastructure at Rixdale Drive as part of the 2021 Prince Albert Road capital tender.
Birch Cove Beach is a popular municipally-owned and operated beach, located in Lake Banook, Dartmouth. During recent summer seasons, there have been many closures to the beach due to high fecal coliform (E. coli) bacteria counts. In 2018 and 2020, the beach closed for extended periods of time due to the combined effects of elevated E. coli counts and harmful algae bloom risk advisories.
Lake Banook provides opportunities for swimming in the urban core and serving as a major hub for the canoe, kayak, rowing, dragon boat, and paddleboard communities, among other users. The race course installed at Lake Banook supports the lake’s use for training and competitions for local clubs through to international boating events. The unknown origin of elevated bacteria counts prompted concerns about the potential for degrading environmental conditions in Lake Banook and Lake Micmac and the viability of their future value as recreational spaces.
Although a municipal weed harvesting project initiated in 2015 has limited the impact of weeds, it has not addressed the cause of the weed growth. More recently, research published by Dalhousie University, on behalf of Halifax Water, has indicated that local lakes appear to be recovering from sulfate deposition. It was concluded that lake recovery processes are widely occurring in Nova Scotia Lakes and that overall, lakes are expected to yield greater productivity (of plants, algae, or both). Consequently, the project, as awarded, extended the original project scope to include phosphorus loading analysis and recommendations to manage phosphorus to enable the safe ongoing use of lakes.
To learn more, read the report.