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The 45-kilometre (km) long shoreline of Hamilton Harbour on Canada’s Lake Ontario has been at the heart of its surrounding communities for many centuries.
Once a pristine source of fresh fish and a place of leisure for the local population, industrialisation and the growth of the city of Hamilton have had a detrimental effect on the life of the harbour.
By the middle of the 20th century, decades of toxic sediment, storm water run-off, habitat loss, water quality deterioration and other factors had caused severe damage to the Hamilton Harbour ecosystem.
In 1987, the International Joint Commission (IJC) – the organisation overseeing the Canada-US Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement – identified the 500 square km Hamilton Harbour as one of 43 areas of concern (AOC).
Being on a list of locations where environmental degradation seriously impaired the use and environmental health of the Great Lakes was a wake-up call for the city. Over the past few years, significant environmental engineering programmes have been implemented, the largest of which being the multiphase Clean Harbour programme.
Wastewater treatment project ...

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