Point Source Monitoring Actions

Action PSM-1: Long-Term Water Monitoring at the Cannelton Industries Site

Upon completion of the remedial action at the Cannelton Industries Superfund site, water quality monitoring was initiated to determine the effectiveness of the remedial action. Groundwater and surface water were sampled twice in the first year for the following parameters: arsenic, cadmium, chromium III, chromium VI, lead, mercury, total organic carbon, and hardness. Groundwater samples were all below federal standards. Some of the surface water samples exceeded federal standards. The next round of sampling will be completed in 2003. During the required 5-year review of the site, which will be conducted in 2004, modifications to the water quality monitoring plan will be evaluated.

Action PSM-2: The Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan Air Quality Monitoring Project

This is a joint effort undertaken by Environment Canada, Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Inter-Tribal Council of Michigan, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to deploy an air quality monitoring network in the Sault Ste. Marie area. The project is in response to citizen complaints about orange-brown haze and particulate deposition caused by emissions from Algoma Steel Inc. The network consists of 2 sites in Michigan and 6 sites in Ontario. In 2001, the two sites in Michigan were established at Lake Superior State University and Bahweting School (Figure 4.1). The equipment at these sites includes: two PM2.5 filter-based (FRM) monitors and 1 speciation monitor used to determine ions (sulfate, nitrate, ammonium potassium), elemental/organic carbon, and trace elements including toxic metals. This equipment is operated by the Inter-Tribal Council of Michigan, with 44 laboratory support from Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. In addition, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment also operates one continuous mass monitor.

Action PSM-3: Ambient Water Monitoring in the St. Marys River

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is now monitoring ambient water in the St. Marys River for a number of parameters, including conventional pollutants, metals, and pesticides.

Action PSM-4: The Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario Air Quality Monitoring Program

Current Status: ADDRESSED

BUIs Addressed: Degradation of Aesthetics

The Ontario Ministry of Environment established an air quality monitoring program in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario in the mid 1970s. An air quality index station (Merrifield School, Figure 4.1) records outdoor concentrations of pollutants (sulphur dioxide, total reduced sulphur, coefficientof-haze, nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, volatile organic carbons, and dustfall) that may adversely affect human health, animal life, vegetation, and the use and enjoyment of property. On an annual basis, the Air Quality Index (AQI) in Sault Ste. Marie is good to very good 97% of the time. Elevated levels of particulate, total reduced sulphur, and ozone are the pollutants responsible for the approximately 220 hours of moderate to poor air quality recorded annually since 1991.
Particulate matter, total suspended solids, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), volatile organic carbons, and dustfall are currently being measured at the Bonney Street site in the west end of the city (Figure 4.1). Elevated PAH and particulate levels are a concern in this area. Both contaminants are associated with diverse urban sources (eg., vehicle exhaust, wood burning stoves, barbeques); however, a substantial contribution can be attributed to Algoma Steel Inc. operations.
Reports summarizing non-compliance with Ambient Air Quality Criteria (AAQC) and identifying long-term (1979-1994) air quality trends in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario have been produced (Olivier and Potvin 1996; Clara and Racette 1996). Quarterly reports on air quality have been issued since 1998. Data from air quality and meteorology instruments are supplemented by vegetation, soil, and snow sampling studies. In general, there has been a trend of improving air quality in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario from 1987 to 1994 (Clara and Racette 1996). Ambient concentrations of sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide are well below provincial AAQC. There are occasional excursions above the AAQC for total reduced sulphur, ozone, inhalable particulate matter, and total suspended particles. While Algoma is to be commended for improvements that have been realized over the years, further efforts to characterize the risk to the community at these levels is required, including source identification and emission reduction (Clara and Racette 1996).
Recognizing this, ASI, in the three party Environmental Management Agreement with EC and OMOE (see section 1.4), has committed itself to (a) the reduction or elimination of air discharges in the form of visible and gaseous emissions (including PAHs and benzene), which exceed or are inconsistent with existing or proposed limits or guidelines or are the subject of pollution reports to OMOE, (b) continued discussions on developing an air quality monitoring partnership with the OMOE, and (c) participation in the discussion and resolution of local trans-boundary air issues between Sault Ste. Marie Ontario and Sault Ste. Marie Michigan.

Air quality monitoring is outside of the scope of the RAP; the Degradation of Aesthetics BUI refers to impairments to water rather than air. The International Joint Commission’s listing guideline for this BUI states it as occurring, “when any substance in water produces a persistent objectionable deposit, unnatural color or turbidity, or unnatural odor (e.g. oil slick, surface scum).”

By 2005, in accordance with the Environmental Management Agreement, Algoma Steel Inc. had reduced benzene air emissions by 89.5% (from 432.6 g/tonne coke in 1993 to 45.38 g/tonne coke produced in 2005), and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon air emissions by 57.9% (from 21.3 g/tonne coke in 1993 to 8.98 g/tone coke produced in 2005). For more information on the Environmental Management Agreement see Action PS-1.

In 2010 Health Canada / NORDIK Institute conducted the Sault Ste. Marie Air Quality Study in an effort to address concerns by local residents on emissions coming from Essar Steel Algoma Inc. As of 2013, data collection for the $900,000 study is complete; Health Canada will release the final report pending the analysis of results.

Action PSM-5: Monitoring of Particulate Emissions at Algoma’s Dekish Operation

Current Status: ADDRESSED

BUIs Addressed: Degradation of Aesthetics

As previously mentioned in section 4.3 under Action PS-9, Algoma Steel has signed a Program Approval with the OMOE to limit discharges from its Dekish operation, which is an uncontrolled source of particulates associated with iron making. The purpose of this is to have the company achieve positive control of these emissions, and this will presumably require some sort of monitoring. Full implementation is targeted for June 2002.

Essar has implemented a plan to reduce air emissions through upgraded fumehood and baghouse technology on the stations that are running. See Action PS-9 for more information on the dekish. Monitoring is ongoing through Essar’s facility-wide air quality monitoring program (see Action PS-1).

Same rationale as noted above under Action PSM-4.

Action PSM-6: Monitor Receiving Water at St. Marys Paper


BUIs Addressed: Degradation of Fish and Wildlife Populations, Degradation of Benthos

Under the EEM program, monitor the receiving water every three years at St. Marys Paper Ltd. and document response of fish and benthic communities to improved effluent quality as mill upgrades and process improvements are implemented.

As of 2012, the St. Marys Paper plant is decommissioned and no longer discharging to the river. During its operation, ECCC and the MOECC implemented requirements for monitoring the receiving waters of the mill (e.g., Canada’s Environmental Effects Monitoring program to assess the impacts of effluent on the receiving environment and Ontario’s Municipal Industrial Strategy for Abatement that established effluent limits and monitoring requirements).

While in operation between 1995 and 2006, contaminants within the mill’s effluents were reduced significantly due to the installation of an activated sludge secondary treatment facility (reducing suspended solids by over 91%, biological oxygen demand (BOD) by more than 97%, and odour-causing phenols by over 95%). This action is no longer applicable given the plants decommission.

Action PSM-7: Monitoring System for Urban Stormwater

Current Status: COMPLETE

BUIs Addressed: Beach Closures

A monitoring system should be designed and implemented for storm water, including flows and concentrations of pollutants of concern (Point Source Task Team 1994).

  • This action is linked to Action PS-1.
  • As outlined under Actions PS-1, PS-2 and PS-5, the City of Sault Ste. Marie is implementing a stormwater management master plan and policy to address stormwater quantity and quality issues within new and existing development in the city.
  • The City undertook targeted monitoring between 2012 and 2015 to determine baseline:                                                                                    -  water quality data for potential installation of oil/grit separators;             - data at the Bellevue Park pond to quantify the potential impairment and assess potential mitigating actions, and;                                                    - data at the East End Snow Dump to assess potential impacts and identify mitigating measures.
  • All potential remedial measures are subject to budget.

Action PSM-8: Monitoring Study to Examine the Short Term Variability and Monthly Ranges of Contaminant Discharges from Water Pollution Control Plants in the AOC

Current Status: COMPLETE

BUIs Addressed: Degradation of Fish and Wildlife Populations

Since temporal averaging can mask large levels of short term variability in time sequenced data, it follows that monthly averages of contaminant discharges from WPCPs provide an incomplete basis on which to assess environmental impacts. Studies should, therefore, be carried out which would monitor contaminant loadings from the water pollution control plants at time scales sufficiently small to detect any short term elevations which could pose a hazard to human health or the environment. These studies should record the short term maxima and the monthly ranges of contaminant discharges, in addition to the monthly averages, which are already being computed, and report on any anomalous, hazardous elevations that are observed.

  • The East End and West End Wastewater Treatment Plants have monitoring programs in place that are implemented by the municipality as required by Environmental Compliance Approval issued by the MECP.

No further action required.