Our Harbour

Completed Projects

Hamilton Clean Harbour Program

Clean Harbour Program Successes
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As the Hamilton community works to achieve the goal of delisting Hamilton Harbour as an area of concern (AOC), it is important to recognize and celebrate the projects that are already complete and having an impact on the harbour and its surrounding communities.

Bayfront Park, Pier 4 Park and Waterfront Trail
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For more than two decades, the West Harbour area has been at the forefront of efforts to increase public access to the Hamilton Harbour shoreline and to enhance and diversify the experience of being close to the water. The connected Bayfront Park, Pier 4 Park and Hamilton Waterfront Trail have transformed landfill, restricted areas and industrial lands into beautiful and award-winning public areas that are magnets to visitors looking to take part in activities including walking, roller blading, bird watching, picnicking, paddling and swimming. More information about the Bayfront Park, Pier 4 Park and Waterfront Trail Project

Beach and Park Revitalization
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The meeting of land, water, wildlife and people can make for great urban-natural experiences, but it can also be unhealthy. In particular, feces from waterfowl such as ducks and geese can carry E. coli[1] bacteria to Hamilton Harbour’s near-shore waters. This, in turn, leads to beach closures. Through a variety of strategies from beach grooming to discouraging birds from settling near beaches, the City of Hamilton has enhanced the appearance of its harbour parks while increasing the number of days the beaches are open for swimming. More information on the Beach and Park Revitalization Project

Cootes Paradise Marsh
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The return of Cootes Paradise to its status as one of the most biologically diverse areas in Canada is a true success story of the Hamilton Harbour Remedial Action Plan.  Stewarded primarily by the Royal Botanical Gardens, a number of key restoration projects involving partners including the City of Hamilton have been responsible for bringing back this nature sanctuary. The Fishway and carp barrier, native species replantings, turtle protection initiatives, rain garden construction and other projects have contributed to the recovery of Cootes Paradise and inspired the return of native species such as wild celery and bald eagles to a place they were last seen decades ago. More information on the Cootes Paradise Marsh Project

Combined Sewer Overflow Storage Strategy
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A significant portion of the City of Hamilton’s sewer system combines wastewater and storm water into one pipe. During heavy rainfall, the inflow to the City’s wastewater treatment plant can exceed capacity, causing that water to bypass the plant, taking both rain water and untreated sewage into Hamilton Harbour. From 1989 to 2010, the City of Hamilton built nine massive storage tanks at various points around the City to hold excess water during wet-weather events. That water is then released for treatment when the plant has capacity. The combined sewer overflow tanks have resulted in a 90% reduction in by-pass events, significantly reducing the amount of untreated sewage going into the harbour. More information about the Combined Sewer Overflow Storage Strategy

Waterdown Wastewater Treatment Plant Decommissioning
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In 2007, the City of Hamilton began decommissioning the Waterdown Wastewater Treatment plant. The strategic decision to close the plant removed effluent wastewater from sensitive fish spawning areas in Grindstone Creek and created cost efficiencies by pumping wastewater from Waterdown to the Dundas Wastewater Treatment Plant. More about the Waterdown Wastewater Treatment Plant Decommissioning Project

Watershed Nutrient and Sediment Management Advisory Group
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The members of the Watershed Nutrient and Sediment Management Advisory Group are senior decision makers from a variety of Hamilton Harbour stakeholders. Since the founding of the group in 2014, it has worked to address issues such as sediment control on active construction sites, rural runoff and urban runoff in both Hamilton and Burlington. The group’s efforts are helping reduce the amount of phosphorus, sediment and other contaminants going into Hamilton Harbour. More information about the Watershed Nutrient and Sediment Management Advisory Group

Windermere Basin
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Windermere Basin, located at the southeast end of Hamilton Harbour, was originally a vibrant marsh at the mouth of Red Hill Creek. Industrial development, shipping activity, urban runoff and wastewater all contributed to the degradation of the marsh over many decades.  In 2011, work began on a $20.5 million effort to restore the basin to a wetland state.

With support from the Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund, the City of Hamilton rebuilt natural areas, fish and wildlife habitat and parkland on a predominantly industrial waterfront. The newly restored Windermere Basin has already become a sanctuary for wildlife and a healthy and diverse Great Lakes coastal wetland.  As nature reclaims the basin, so too have hikers and bird watchers taking advantage of the newly restored 13-hectare environment. More information about the Windermere Basin Project

Primary Clarifiers at the Woodward Wastewater Treatment Plant
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The upgrade of the primary clarifiers at the Woodward Wastewater Treatment Plant began in August 2010. The upgrade was officially complete in April 2013 with the release of the substantial performance certificate. The clarifiers now have the capacity to treat larger wet-weather flows while also producing lower pollutant loading because of the addition of a new chlorine contact chamber for disinfection.

[1] Abbreviation for Escherichia coli, a large group of bacteria commonly found in the intestines of humans and animals – some strains of E. coli can cause severe illness