NIAGARA RIVER TOXICS MANAGEMENT PLAN
A surrounding medium, such as water or air. Used in contrast to a specific
Program or policy to prevent further environmental damage or deterioration.
Growing in, living in, or dependent upon water.
Area of Concern (AOC)
An area recognized by the International Joint Commission, where
objectives of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement are not being achieved.
Pollution from the atmosphere associated with dry deposition in
the form of dust, wet deposition in the form of rain and snow, or as a result
of vapor exchanges.
The movement of chemical substances through the atmosphere to a
remote location often over a number of days or weeks.
A wall constructed underground in a hazardous waste site or landfill
to stop the flow of contaminated groundwater.
The land that drains into a waterbody.
Water flowing through a rock layer underground, under a top layer
of mixed soil and loose rock called the overburden.
A PAH that is formed by the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels,
wood, and tobacco; the incineration of garbage; and in steel production.
The process by which chemical substances accumulate in the tissues
of an organism that drinks contaminated water or eats contaminated food.
The process by which chemical substances become more concentrated
in tissues of organisms that eat other contaminated organisms, increasing
at higher levels of a food web.
The use of organisms (such as fish or mussels) to evaluate environmental
Material, other than the principal product, that is generated as a consequence
of an industrial process.
A cover over hazardous waste sites or landfills, usually made of clean soils
or clay, that prevents rainwater from seeping through soil and causing the
contaminants in the soil to flow into the groundwater.
Area in which groundwater is flowing towards a pumping well;used
as remediation technique for hazardous waste sites, to "capture"
contaminated groundwater and treat it.
Certificates of Approval
A legal document that permits and controls the manner in which
activities are carried out (e.g.,effluent quality limits). They are binding
on the recipient and are directly enforceable by prosecution under provincial
Chemicals of Concern (COCs)
Under the NRTMP, the Four Parties identified 18 priority toxic
chemicals as contributing to problems in the Niagara River or Lake Ontario.
A commitment was made to reduce by 50% the 10 "chemicals of concern"
(out of the 18 priority toxics) with significant Niagara River sources.
The GO cobs are benz(a)anthracene, benzo(a)-pyrene, benzo(b)fluoranthene, benzo(k)fluoranthene, hexachlorobenzene, mercury, mirex, PCBs, dioxin, and
A persistent toxic chemical that was used to control ants, grasshoppers,
and other insects on certain crops.
System of pipes around a hazardous waste site or landfill that
collects surface or groundwater and directs it toward a treatment plant.
Combined sewer overflow (CSO)
Water discharged into a waterbody from a sewer system that carries
both sewage and stormwater runoff. Normally, all of the sewer system's flow
goes to a treatment plant, but during a heavy storm, there may be so much
stormwater as to cause overflows. When this happens, mixtures of stormwater
and sewage may flow into a waterbody untreated.
A legal document, approved by a judge, which puts into effect a
remedy (i.e., actions to correct an environmental problem).
A substance that is not naturally present in the environment or
is present in amounts that can adversely affect the environment.
To take a sample of sediment by pushing a long hollow tube into
the bottom of a river and withdrawing it full of sediment. Coring produces
a core sample.
Numerical limits for pollutants in water, air, or sediment, established
to protect human health and/or the environment.
Moving across media, such as from air to water, or from water to sediment.
A collection of data arranged for ease and speed of retrieval.
Dichloro-diphynyl-trichloroethane. A persistent toxic chemical that was
used as a pesticide, particularly for mosquito control. DDT is banned in
U.S. and Canada. DDE and DDD are metabolites of DDT.
A persistent toxic chemical that was used mainly as a soil insecticide.
Dioxin: A family of persistent toxic chemicals known as dibenzo-p-dioxins.
Dioxins can enter the environment as the by-products of industrial processes
or as a result of combustion processes in incinerators and motor vehicles
using leaded fuel. The compound called "2,3,7,8-TCDD" is the most
toxic member of the dioxin family.
Furan: A class of chemicals similar to dioxins, which are created at high
temperatures, such as incineration of PCBs and other organic wastes containing
DNAPL(Dense Non-Aqueous Phase Liquid)
An oily, sludge-like mixture of chemicals that is denser than water.
DNAPL flows with gravity or along geological formations, not always in the
same direction as groundwater.
In the direction with the flow of a stream or river; downriver.
For Niagara River, downstream is towards Niagara-on-the-Lake and Lake Ontario.
A body of water and the land draining into it.
Removal of sediment from the bottom of a waterbody.
A living system made up of interacting plants, animals, and bacteria, together
with their physical and chemical environment.
A way of looking at environmental problems or solutions based on
the boundaries of ecosystems, rather than based on political (e.g., country
or city) boundaries.
Waste water discharged from sewage treatment plants.
A bay. A part of a waterbody (such as a river or lake) that makes an indentation
into the adjacent land.
Discharges into the atmosphere from sources such as smokestacks, motor vehicles,
aircraft, and so on.
The pattern of food consumption in an ecosystem. A food web consists
of interacting food chains that are sequences of organisms, each of which
eats the next member of the sequence.
A pipe that carries contaminated groundwater drawn out of hazardous waste
sites by pumping wells to a treatment plant.
The four agencies who implement the Niagara River Toxics Management
Plan: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Environment Canada, New York
state Department of Environmental Protection, and Ontario Ministry of the
Environment and Energy.
Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
A computer system that is used to compile, analyze, and display
geographic data. The system can be used to produce maps relating various
environmental features and information to each other.
Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement (GLWQA)
Agreement between U.S. and Canada to restore and maintain the chemical,
physical, and biological integrity of the Great Lakes. The GLWQA was first
signed in 1978, and was amended in 1983 and 1987.
The fresh or saline waters found beneath the Earth's surface that
often supply wells and srings. Contrast to"Surface water".
The place where a particular type of plant or animal lives. An organism's
habitat must provide all of the basic requirements for its life.
Any substance that is a by-product of society and is classified
under U.S. or Canadian law as potentially harmful to human health or the
environment. Hazardous wastes are subject to special handling, shipping,
storage, and disposal requirements under the law.
Hazardous waste site
Land disposal site for hazardous wastes.
Metallic elements with high atomic weights that tend to be toxic
and bioaccumulate. Examples are mercury, arsenic, lead, etc.
A chemical pesticide designed to control or destroy plants, weeds, or grasses.
A persistent toxic chemical that was originally manufactured as
a fungicide for cereal crops. It is also generated as a byproduct in the
manufacture of pesticides and can be formed during the combustion of substances
A species that can provide a measure of environmental conditions
or changes, that can reflect contaminant levels in their environment, or
that can give early warnings of environmental problems.
A chemical compound that does not contain carbon. Inorganic substances
are often derived from minerals.
A chemical used to kill or control the growth of insects.
International Joint Commission (IJC)
A U.S. and Canadian commission, established by the 1909 Boundary
Waters Treaty, which makes decisions relating to U.S./Canadian boundary
waters, such as the Great Lakes. The IJC monitors implementation of the
Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.
Land disposal site for hazardous (or nonhazardous) wastes.
Load or Loading
The amount of a material entering a system over a given time interval.
Lake Ontario Toxics Management Plan (LOTMP)
A plan for reducing toxic substances in Lake Ontario, implemented
by the Four Parties to fulfill a commitment in the NRTMP. The LOTMP is being
expanded into a Lake Ontario Lakewide Management Plan to fulfill commitments
under the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.
Lake Ontario Lakewide Management Plan (LO LaMP)
A plan for the open waters of Lake Ontario that is designed to
reduce loadings of Critical Pollutants in order to restore beneficial uses.
The Lo LaMP is being developed by the Four Parties in partnership with other
natural resources agencies.
A way of evaluating the transport and fate of contaminants in a
system by balancing their inputs and outputs.
Medium (plural: Media)
A surrounding substance in the environment: water, air, or sediment.
A substance that is the product of biological changes to a chemical.
A persistent toxic substance that was used as an insecticide and a fire
The volume where water from a source of a pollutant mixes with
the ambient water body (receiving water).
Involving multiple media, such as water and air, or air and sediment, or
National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES)
A U.S. program for controling discharges of pollutants from point
sources into waterbodies. The program consists of permits limiting municipal
and industrial discharges (see also "state Pollutant Discharge Elimination
National Priorities List (NPL)
An EPA list of the most serious uncontrolled or abandoned U.S.
hazardous waste sites identified for long-term remedial action under Superfund.
Pollution entering the environment over a widespread area, where
the sources cannot be traced to a single, identifiable point. Contrast to
A persistent toxic chemical that was released as a by-product when
chlorine was manufactured using certain processes that are no longer used.
A chemical compound that contains carbon.
Water flowing through a layer of mixed soil and loose rock that
lies over the rock layer called bedrock.
Polycyclic or polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons. A class of persistent
toxic compounds that are formed from the combustion of organic material,
such as forest fires or gasoline in cars.
Polychlorinated biphenyls. A group of persistent toxic chemicals used in
electrical and hydraulic equipment for insulating or lubricating purposes.
Persistent toxic chemical
Any toxic chemical that is difficult to destroy or that breaks
down slowly in the environment (i.e., with a half-life in water greater
than eight weeks).
A chemical used for preventing, destroying, or repeling any pest.
Passive In-Site Chemical Extraction Samplers. Sampling devices that can
detect toxic chemicals at very low concentrations in water. PISCES consist
of a short hollow pipe filled with thick liquid that accumulates toxic chemicals
over time, much as a fish does.
Source of pollution that is distinct and identifiable, such as
a pipe from a sewage treatment plant.
Any action that reduces or eliminates pollutants before they are
Potentially Responsible Party (PRP)
Any individual or company potentially responsible for, or contributing
to, the contamination problems at U.S. hazardous waste sites.
Processes used to reduce, eliminate, or alter pollutants from industrial
sources before they are discharged into publicly-owned sewage treatment
Priority toxic chemicals
Under the NRTMP, 18 toxic chemicals that exceeded water quality
or fish tissue standards in the Niagara River or Lake Ontario. See also
"chemicals of concern".
Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. A U.S. program to remediate active
hazardous waste sites. sites are remediated by potentially responsible parties
whenever this can be arranged.
Record of Decision (ROD)
A public document that explains what actions will be taken to remediate
a U.S. hazardous waste site.
Remedial Action Plan (RAP)
Environmental plans aimed at restoring beneficial uses to Great
Lakes Areas of Concern.
Water that flows over the land surface into a waterbody.
State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES)
A permit system limiting municipal and industrial discharges, administered
by states (see also NPDES).
A smaller drainage area within a large drainage basin, such as the Buffalo
River sub-basin in the Niagara River basin.
A U.S. program to remediate inactive or abandoned hazardous waste sites
in an emergency or for the long-term. sites are remediated by potentially
responsible parties whenever this can be arranged.
All water open to the atmosphere (e.g., rivers, lakes, reservoirs,
seas, etc.).Contrast to "Groundwater".
A persistent toxic chemical that was used as an insecticide.
Any substance that adversely affects the health or well-being of
a living organism. OR A substance that can cause death, disease, birth defects,
behavioral abnormalities, cancer, genetic mutations, physiological/reproductive
malfunctions, or physical deformities in any organism.
A stream or river that flows into a larger stream, river, or lake.
In the direction against the flow of a stream or river; upriver. For Niagara
River, upstream is towards Fort Erie and Lake Erie.
A substance that evaporates readily.
A body of water and the land that drains into it.
An area that is saturated with water or has a water level at or near the
surface. A wetland has organic soils and plant/animal species that are adapted
to a wet environment.