Broken fire suppression line at GE source of spill in Little Lake

Click to play video: 'Petroleum product from GE plant leaks into Little Lake'
Petroleum product from GE plant leaks into Little Lake
Crews are cleaning up a spill on Little Lake in Peterborough. – Mar 9, 2018

An oily substance found in Little Lake on Wednesday has been coming from General Electric, Peterborough city officials have determined.

Firefighters and the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) spent the day containing a spill by setting up berms along the Peterborough Marina near George Street North.

The substance had a strong odour but officials were not originally able to identify what it was.

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Barry Campbell, environment officer with the city, says officials traced the spill back to the GE site on Park Street North.

“The source of the sheen discharging into Little Lake has been tracked to 107 Park St. N (GE),” he said in an email.

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“The exact location on-site has not been identified but City of Peterborough, Environmental Protection Division staff have installed primary containment on-site to reduce the amount of material making its way to Little Lake. ”

Testing continues to determine what the substance is but it’s possibly fuel oil or diesel, said Campbell.

Staff says the MOE has turned over the incident to GE which has hired Accurex to continue cleanup. There does not appear to be any environmental risks based on how quickly the spill was contained.

“The elevated river level may be an issue with getting all of the residual oil out of the storm sewer between George St. and the sewer outlet,” Campbell said.


Officials say the source of the spill is a broken fire suppression line in one of GE’s on-site buildings.

“The spilled hydrocarbons (i.e. petroleum product) flowed from GE’s storm sewer system into the city’s storm sewer system and eventually into Little Lake,” said Gary Wheeler with the MOECC.

Wheeler says the ministry and GE have collected samples of the spilled material.

“The environmental consultant has deployed additional marine booms in Little Lake and vacuum trucks are skimming the impacted water from the marina,” he said.

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“Vacuum trucks are also available to pump out impacted catch basins and storm water along the city’s storm sewer system and on GE’s property. Ministry staff continue to oversee all clean-up efforts and are working with GE and the city to ensure that the spill is contained and the natural environment is restored.”

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