Billions of litres of sewage leaked into Hamilton creek

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Published November 21, 2019 at 5:28 pm

The City of Hamilton issued a release Wednesday (Nov.

The City of Hamilton issued a release Wednesday (Nov. 20) that revealed approximately 24 billion litres of stormwater runoff and sewage was discharged into Chedoke Creek over a span of more than four years.

“Investigations have determined that the spill was a result of a bypass gate in the combined sewer overflow tank that should have been in a closed position, but was opened to approximately five per cent on January 28, 2014,” the city says in the release.

“Despite extensive investigations, the City has not been able to determine why the bypass gate was opened.”

The leak was discovered in June 2018, and since then the gate has been closed and the city has taken up remediation efforts.

Over the past year, the city says they have been working with the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) to investigate the incident and determine how best to tackle the cleanup and prevent future spills.

The MECP also forwarded the file to the Investigations & Enforcement Branch (IEB), whose investigation is ongoing.

The environmental impacts of the spill are still being examined but the city says they have enlisted independent consultants to carry out this aspect of their response to the spill.

The discovery of the spill moved the municipality to conduct “enhanced inspections of all combined sewer overflow facilities and an inventory of all critical valves and control points to ensure operations of these facilities are working as designed,” the city said in the release.

Public Health currently recommends that the urban watercourse linked to Chedoke Creek, which flows through West Hamilton, for secondary recreational purposes such as canoeing or fishing. There are signs posted and the city says they will be there indefinitely.

The city says that they completed a surface cleaning of the stream in summer 2018 to remove “floatable material.”

They also said that a series of water quality tests determined conditions have seen a “substantial” improvement and there’s been a “dramatic decrease” in E.Coli levels.

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