In the City of Barrie (located in Ontario, Canada), like most urban areas, stormwater flows largely untreated directly into surrounding waters–in this case the precious local waterways of Lake Simcoe. At 722 square kilometres, Lake Simcoe is Ontario’s fourth largest lake and is home to over 50 species of fish. Lake Simcoe also provides safe drinking water to seven municipalities, so it is a critical resource to protect.
Enviropod worked with the City in 2019 on a LittaTrap pilot installation to understand the nature of litter loading in pedestrian areas in the downtown area. By placing a single LittaTrap unit outside a pedestrian hotspot on Dunlop Street, the trial identified patterns such as the busiest months and types of litter discarded, and monitored the effect of snow melt on the unit.
In the five-month monitoring period, the single unit caught 473 pieces of litter, primarily consisting of cigarette butts and soft and hard plastics, all of which were prevented from reaching the lake. From the success of this pilot study, the City has rolled out a subsequent Pilot Program in the downtown area, in which 112 LittaTrap units were installed this fall in the downtown catch basins across multiple land uses. The LittaTraps will be used to further monitor pollutants across different activities and manage litter hotspots.
Jacob Reid, Supervisor of Technical and Stormwater Operations at the City, says “City staff are always looking for ways to help protect the environment. For our team that means looking at ways of treating and reducing the impacts of stormwater pollution on water bodies. The new Littatrap Pilot Program looks to reduce stormwater pollution downtown and we hope to quantify this into 2022. This initiative also helps support building a greener Barrie, one of City Council’s goals.”
The LittaTrap filters will capture all litter and pollutants larger than 5mm that enter the drains during rainfall and snow melt events. The most abundant type of litter expected is cigarette butts and soft plastic wrapping which will be stopped from entering the Lake Simcoe ecosystem.
Greg Yeoman, designer of the LittaTrap says “The City of Barrie is a forward-thinking City and the team has been amazing to work with. Protection of Lake Simcoe from plastics and other litter is high on their agenda and LittaTrap is a great tool to target the areas with the highest litter loadings. The approach the City has taken to determine their litter ‘hotspot’ areas is a great practical example other municipalities can follow to make an instant environmental impact”.
The City of Barrie has committed to ongoing LittaTrap monitoring and is looking to work with the local conservation authority to assist in the reduction of plastic, litter and other contaminants, such as phosphorus, from entering the receiving environment and protecting the waterways.