Lake Ontario is the most polluted of the Great Lakes. One of the reasons for this is that the water from the other Great Lakes drains into it before heading to the St. Lawrence River and into the Atlantic Ocean. So, in addition to receiving its own pollution from local industrial and urban runoff sources (the nation’s most polluted lake, Onondaga Lake in Syracuse, NY, drains into it too), Lake Ontario also accumulates the contaminants from the other Great Lakes.
Lake Ontario and Erie are considered the most polluted because they are significantly smaller, yet have many people living around them, and they are the last lakes in the system of basins. Like the above answer, Lake Ontario and Erie receive pollutants from all other Great Lakes. Some of the more hazardous contaminants are phosphorus, bacteria (E. Coli), and POP’s (persistant organic pollutants).
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