Environmental crews continue to clean Little Lake after an oily substance was found in the water by the Peterborough Marina on Wednesday, March 7.
Peterborough’s General Electric (GE) plant quickly took responsibility for the leak and hired the crews from Bowmanville to clean the mess.
GE originally stated the substance was a petroleum product which leaked from a broken fire suppression line in the plant. The product then went through GE’s storm sewers, which connect with the City’s storm sewers and eventually lead to Little Lake.
Experts says fire suppression lines only ever contain water, or in some cases air. It’s against the fire code for them to contain a petroleum product.
CHEX News contacted GE through the Ministry of Environment Thursday to clarify where the petroleum product came from.
WATCH: Petroleum product from GE plant leaks into Little Lake
“The fire suppression line that discharged through to GE’s onsite storm sewer system was subsequently contaminated with hydrocarbons from GE’s property,” a spokesperson said.
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The Ministry went on to say the spilled carbons (a petroleum product) flowed through the sewers to the lake.
GE did not say where the hydrocarbons came from on their property, or why the fire suppression line was discharged in the first place.
GE has cleaned the oil out of the sewers that stretch from the plant to Little Lake. And the company hired to clean the lake has blocked off storm sewer lines from affected locations at the lake to ensure any left over residue does not leave the GE plant.
The Peterborough Fire Department is not involved in the incident, but fire experts say clean ups involving oil can take a long time.
They say one drop of oil can expand to cover 10 feet in the water. A cup of oil would cover the entire surface of Little Lake.
The Ministry says staff collected samples and have submitted them to their laboratory for priority analysis. They say it’s not clear yet as to the specific quantity of product that was leaked.
The Ministry says it is still reviewing the incident, and has not made any decisions on whether fines will be set.
They’re continuing to assess whether any wildlife has been harmed by the spill.