Annex 15 to the Great Lakes Water Quality
Agreement (1987)
Annex 15, added to the Agreement in 1987, committed the
governments of the United States and Canada (the Parties)
to conduct research, surveillance and monitoring, and
implement pollution control measures to reduce atmo-
spheric deposition of toxic substances, particularly
persistent toxic substances, to the Great Lakes basin
Research was to focus on the determination of pathways,
fate and effects of such toxic substances, including an
understanding of the processes of wet and dry deposition
and vapor exchange of toxic substances; the effects of
modeled deposition estimates would be very dependent on
persistent toxic substances, taken singly or synergistically;
the quality of emission inventories, on knowledge of the
and the development of models to determine: the signifi-
chemical and physical processes affecting their lifetimes in
cance of atmospheric loadings to the Great Lakes system
the atmosphere and on support for further model develop-
relative to other pathways, and the sources of such sub-
stances from outside the Great Lakes system.
In October 1993, the IAQAB report Progress by the Parties
The federal, state and provincial governments also agreed
in Completing an Inventory of Toxic Air Emissions and in
to develop and adopt programs and measures for the
Assessing Toxic Air Deposition in the Lake Superior Basin
elimination of discharges of persistent toxic substances.
concluded that, within that basin, the emission inventories
of the time were inadequate and as a result, further
The establishment, by the governments of the United States
development of deposition models was not warranted.
and Canada, of an Integrated Atmospheric Deposition
Network (IADN) to attempt to quantify the total and net
Subsequently, under the Modeling element of the Annex, in
atmospheric input of these toxic substances to the Great
the IJC’s Seventh Biennial Report on Great Lakes Water
Lakes system and define the temporal and spatial trends in
Quality (December 1993), the Commission noted that a
the atmospheric deposition was among the responses to
focus on research to improve understanding of the
Annex 15.
pathways, fate and effects of airborne toxic substances, as
required by Annex 15, has not occurred.  Specifically a
research program emphasizing atmospheric processes,
Significant Activities Since 1987 Under
transfer coefficients, and gas exchange processes would be
Annex 15
needed.  The Lake Michigan Mass Balance Study and other
initiatives ultimately would respond in part to this need,
In 1989 the IAQAB compiled a first inventory of atmo-
but important coordinated binational research remains to
spheric sources of the Critical Pollutants (L. Smith and E.
be conducted.
Voldner, “Production, Usage and Atmospheric Emissions of
14 Priority Toxic Chemicals”).  This report concluded that
The  Seventh Biennial Report on Great Lakes Water Quality
“a larger undertaking of further research on toxic chemicals
also recommended “federal governments provide co-
emissions will be required to provide the necessary
ordinated national inventories of toxic air emissions...A
information on atmospheric emissions and their subse-
binational (emphasis added) group should be established
quent deposition in the Great Lakes region.”  Notwith-
to review, co-ordinate and propose means to (a) identify
standing some observed progress in emission inventory
data requirements (b) develop guidelines and timetables;
activities, identical summary remarks could be and have
(c) set priorities; and (d) propose and co-ordinate re-
been made today, over a decade later, with regard to the
search.”  Subsequent to this recommendation, in what
Level I (largely the current contaminants considered in the
could be construed as a regional response, the Great Lakes
Smith/Voldner report) and Level II contaminants on the
Air Toxics Emission Inventory was established; however, the
current Binational Toxics Strategy list.
need for a binational inventory characterizing sources from
outside the basin that contribute significantly to Great Lakes
Shortly thereafter, in reviewing several first efforts at
deposition went largely unaddressed at the bilateral level.
modeling the transport and deposition of persistent toxic
Also, in April 1996, the IAQAB expressed its concerns
substances, the IAQAB noted that the quality of these
regarding the deregulation of the electrical utilities industry