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Welcome to the St. Marys River BPAC Website!

In 1987, the St. Marys River was designated as an Area of Concern (AOC) in the Great Lakes under the U.S – Canada Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.

In 1988, The BPAC was formed to assist government agencies that are responsible for preparing a Remedial Action Plan (RAP) for the St. Marys River Area of Concern (AOC)

BPAC is dedicated to ensuring that the river water quality and the ecosystem are improved and protected for all users of the river.

The St. Marys River

The St. Marys River is a 125 km stretch of water that separates Ontario & Michigan. It has been designated as one of the 43 Areas of Concern (AOC) in the Great Lakes.

Areas of Concern

There are 43 Areas of Concern (AOC) in the Great Lakes and the St. Marys River happens to be one of them.

Remedial Action Plan

A Remedial Action Plan is a three-phased approach to protecting and restoring an Area of Concern (AOC).

Beneficial Use Impairments

Beneficial Use Impairments (BUIs) are the criteria used to designate an Area of Concern (AOC). Find out which of the 14 BUIs were originally impaired in the St. Marys River and which have since been redesignated to a "Not Impaired" status.

Is the Water Quality Improving?

Yes! Due to stricter environmental regulations and considerable improvements made by the City of Sault Ste. Marie and local industry, the water quality of the river has improved substantially since first being designated an AOC in the 1980s.

Here are a few of the improvements to the water quality over the years:

The City of Sault Ste. Marie, ON improved its wastewater quality by reducing biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) by over 96%, suspended solids by over 89%, and phosphorus levels have dropped by more than 91%.

Essar Steel Algoma reduced the amount of oil and grease entering the river via wastewater by more than 96%; suspended solids by over 94%, phenols by more than 99%, and ammonia by over 95%

Prior to being decommissioned in 2012, St. Marys Paper Ltd. reduced the output of suspended solids by over 91%, biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) by more than 97%, and phenols by over 95%.

BPAC Library

Don't forget to stop by the virtual BPAC Library for a complete list of viewable documents and downloadable materials!