Ottawa River, Ontario - Marny Girard

I was enrolled in kayak lessons at Brittania Beach when I was 12. We were learning to do barrel roles, which involves fully immersing yourself in the water. I was apprehensive, as the beach was closed to swimmers that day. I wondered why the water had been deemed unfit for swimmers. If it was dangerous to swim in, should I be putting my head under the water? I went to the library and researched the possible sources of contamination for the Ottawa River. It was then that I learned about combined sewage overflow, E. coli and fecal coliforms, a lot to process for a twelve year old. I was concerned about the organisms that lived in and around the water. It was the first time that I understood that the Ottawa River is a commons and not a receptacle for our waste. I have subsequently learned of many other cumulative threats to the Ottawa River, which can be generalized to most rivers that are in urban or developed areas.

Ottawa Riverkeeper
Amanda Masterson
Marny Girard

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