Win a Rainbarrel Prize Pack!

The Ajax waterfront is one of the Town’s crown jewels!  As residents we all need to do our part to conserve water and protect water quality in our town.  What actions will you take?  Fill out the Win a Rainbarrel Contest form by October 30, 2019, and let us know how you conserve water to be entered in a draw to win the rain barrel prize pack!

Rain Barrel Prize Pack

Learn more about the Town's Water Initiative below!

Blue Community
In December of 2011, the Town of Ajax became the second Blue Community in Ontario and just the fourth in all of Canada. The Blue Communities Project is a joint initiative of the Council of Canadians and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). A Blue Community is one that seeks to protect the water commons and views all water systems as shared resources that should be kept clean, safe and accessible for all Canadians. The movement is a reaction against increasing pressure to privatize water services in the country.

The Project calls on communities to adopt a water commons framework by adopting three specific actions:

  1. Recognizing water as a human right.
  2. Promoting publicly financed, owned and operated water and wastewater services.
  3. Banning the sale of bottled water in public facilities and at municipal events.

The Town adopted these three actions in the form of resolutions after receiving a letter from 13-year old, Robyn Hamlyn. The motivated young activist has contacted dozens of municipalities across Ontario and is speaking at city council meetings throughout the province about the importance of the Blue Community water initiative.

Related Stories

April 1, 2012 - Ajax & Pickering News Advertiser: Ajax presented with blue community award
Bottled Water Campaign

On June 4, 2009, Ajax Town Council approved a public education campaign titled "Tap into it!" to  encourage residents and staff to adopt the principle and philosophy of choosing tap water over bottled water. The Town has already taken the first step in removing bottled water from its public meetings, Town operated concessions, and vending machines. Over the coming months, the Town will phase out the sale of bottled water at special events, and remaining concessions as current lease agreements expire.

How the Town of Ajax is supporting this initiative

  • Town meetings are now bottled water free.
  • Bottled water is no longer sold from vending machines and concessions at the Ajax Community Centre and Sportsplex.
  • Water fountains at community centres are being fitted with bottle filler attachments.
  • New parks and facilities will include the provision for access to municipal water.
  • Facility users and special event patrons will be encouraged to bring reusable containers.
  • The sale of bottled water at special events will be phased out by 2010.

What you can do to help

  • Let your family and friends know about the Town's "Tap into it!" campaign.
  • Fill a reusable container for use at your desk, in the gym, and on the go.
  • Keep meetings and special events bottled water free.
  • Be a role model for others by choosing tap water over bottled water.

Facts about tap water

  • Tap water is accessible and more sustainable than bottled water.
  • In Durham Region, your tap water is safe to drink. It continuously upholds the Ontario Drinking Water Quality Standards set by the Ministry of the Environment.

Facts about bottled water

  • The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) has endorsed a resolution urging all municipalities to phase out the sale of bottled water, and over 50 municipalities in Ontario have implemented restrictions on bottled water.
  • Bottled water is more costly than tap water. Environment Canada states that 1,000 litres of tap water costs $1.26, while the same amount of bottled water costs $1,500.
  • It takes about three litres of water to manufacture a one litre plastic bottle.
  • A significant amount of energy is used to create, ship and recycle plastic bottles.
  • An estimated 650 million used plastic bottles enter landfills each year.

Reports

Bring Back the Salmon
Once again the Town of Ajax in collaboration with the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters and other partners is providing Ajax residents with the opportunity to see the early life stages of the endangered Atlantic Salmon until they grow large enough to be released into the Duffins Creek.

100 eggs will be on display in the Ajax Main Library as of January 20th 2016 until early spring. Once the eggs hatch and the fish reach the "Fry" life stage they will be ready for release. The exact date of the release will be dependent on the temperatures of the Duffins Creek but this usually takes place at the end of March/ early April with the help of local school groups.

Atlantic salmon have been missing from Lake Ontario for more than a century as a result of habitat loss and over fishing. This treasured species is an important part of our natural heritage and Ontario's biodiversity. 

View Bring Back the Salmon website.

Stormwater Initiatives

How can you help improve the water quality in Lake Ontario?

Reuse, Return, Reduce, Stop and Speak Out

How can you help improve the water quality in Lake Ontario?

  • Reuse your stormwater by catching the rain that falls on your property. Store water in a rain barrel or in a rainwater harvesting system.
  • Return rain water to the ground to recharge underground aquifers. Plant landscaping like trees and deep rooted plants in areas designed to soak up water such as rain gardens.
  • Reduce water consumption by using water efficient devices in your home. Reduce hard surfaces like walkways and driveways on your property by replacing with porous pavement or interlocking pavers.
  • Stop using harmful chemicals inside and outside the house. Use nature and environmentally friendly products and safely dispose of harmful household hazardous products. Visit the Region of Durham's Municipal Hazardous and Special Waste system or Orange Drop system for more information.
  • Speak out and be aware of the need to change our own habits and encourage neighbors to do the same. Help protect and enhance our most important resource: Lake Ontario.

“Top Ten” Consumer Tips of Water Conservation

Stormwater Initiatives Top Ten Consumer Tips for Water Conservation

Stormwater management initiatives listed below help to improve and maintain the health of the Town of Ajax's watershed and nearshore area of Lake Ontario. These strategic initiatives are priorities set out by Ajax Town Council through the Community Action Plan which calls for “action to improve water quality along Ajax shoreline”.

Yellow Fish Road Program

What is Yellow Fish Road?

Yellow Fish Road is a nation-wide environmental education program designed and managed by Trout Unlimited Canada. The Yellow Fish Road program's goal is to help Canadians understand that storm drains are the doorway to our rivers, lakes and streams. Preventing pollutants from entering our storm drains is critical to protecting and improving water quality and aquatic habitat.

The Town of Ajax, and Toronto and Region Conservation Authority have sponsored the Yellow Fish Road program to schools in Ajax. The Yellow Fish Road program, offered to grades 3-8, educate students and the public about the impacts of pollution entering urban storm drains. In most cities, water entering storm drains goes directly into a local rivers, streams and lakes untreated. Storm drain pollution can harm fish and wildlife, as well as reduce water quality for human use.

Yellow Fish Road volunteers paint “yellow fish” storm drains and distribute fish-shaped brochures to nearby households. These activities remind people to properly dispose of hazardous household chemicals, rather than allowing these to enter curbside drains.

Why the Yellow Fish Road?

In most municipalities, storm drains flow directly into the local waterbody without being treated. Almost anything other than clean rainwater is harmful to fish and other aquatic life. This includes soap used to wash your family car (that is not biodegradable), excess fertilizer on the lawn that washes into the storm drain, dirt and oil from your driveway, and construction materials. These materials have an impact on all aquatic life, including plants, insects, fish and animals, as well as the humans that depend on the local water body.

What is a Drain?

Storm drains are the grates found on the street by the curb. Run-off and rainwater drain into these grates, go through a network of underground tunnels, and usually ends up in the local water body. The water that goes down a storm drain is usually not treated to remove pollutants before it reaches the local water body.

Often, people simply do not realize that storm drains do not go to the sewage treatment plant, or that simple activities, such as allowing soapy water to enter the drains can be harmful to aquatic life. People may also be unaware of alternatives, such as pouring soapy water down their own household drains (which is treated at the sewage treatment plant before entering the river) or using biodegradable cleaning products.

For more information see Trout Unlimited Canada's Yellow Fish Road Program.

How You can Help Newsletters

Stormwater management is a science that is continually evolving, and as it evolves, our understanding of watershed management also grows. Effective management of stormwater is critical to the continued health of our creeks, Lake Ontario, fisheries and terrestrial habitats. The Town of Ajax believes that an improved understanding of watershed by residents will encourage proactive steps of change in habits to improve water quality.

The Newsletters listed below are things that everyone can do to help.

Rain Gardens Stormwater Retrofit

In 2011, The Town of Ajax completed a Master Plan Environmental Assessment (EA) for Stormwater Retrofit Study to investigate stormwater management retrofit opportunities and new stormwater management practices. The EA established a list of recommended water quality improvements for sewer sheds in the Town. These recommendations provide a long term strategy, ensuring the Town continues to be an innovative leader committed to introducing new technologies while updating infrastructure and policies to enhance the environment.

The Rain Garden project was a recommendation from the EA. The location for the first phase is on the south side of Lake Driveway from Harwood Avenue to Anstead Crescent within the boulevard and the Ajax Waterfront park. Construction was completed in late fall of 2014. The rain gardens were monitored for two years following construction to measure their effectiveness at providing water quality treatment. The rain gardens were each designed with different substrate materials to compare their levels of effectiveness. All three rain gardens succeeded at improving the water quality discharging to Lake Ontario. The two rain gardens that were constructed with enhanced additives were also very effective at removing Phosphorus, which contributes to algae growth at the waterfront. The full monitoring report is available here: