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Hamilton, Ont. to hire monitor in response to sewage spill into Cootes Paradise

The city of Hamilton will be sending an early response to the province tied to the 24 billion litre spill of untreated wastewater into Cootes Paradise between 2014 and 2018. Don Mitchell / Global News Hamilton

The City of Hamilton will submit a province-ordered response on how it will monitor untreated wastewater ahead of a May 1 deadline.

The summary is tied to an environmental impact study of Cootes Paradise – the waterway which received much of a 24-billion-litre sewage spill from Chedoke Creek over a four-year period.

The response focuses on the hiring of a technologist to monitor water quality within all of Hamilton’s waterways, specifically downstream of city infrastructure.

READ MORE: City of Hamilton environmental study suggests Cootes Paradise cleanup ‘not required’

General Manager of public works Dan McKinnon told city councillors on Wednesday the goal is to prevent a repeat of the incident, which happened when a bypass gate was left partially open at a combined sewer overflow tank,  allowing sewage to enter Chedoke Creek.

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McKinnon went on to say the matter is now in the hands of the province who may or may not be satisfied with the city’s recommendations.

“They may decide that they do want us to undertake some kind of remediation notwithstanding the recommendations that we’ve made.”

Click to play video: 'Hamilton City Council accused of “cover-up” of sewage leak'
Hamilton City Council accused of “cover-up” of sewage leak

The environmental impact evaluation (EIE) study from SLR Consulting — the firm hired by the city to evaluate the waterway after orders from the province — recommended against a cleanup saying available information showed no adverse impacts on aquatic vegetation or the fish community in nearby Cootes Paradise.

The study focused on the Main/King combined sewer overflow (CSO) facility which discharged the sewage and water down Chedoke Creek and into the south shore of Cootes Paradise between January 2014 and July 2018.

READ MORE: City of Hamilton admits Chedoke Creek was flooded with sewage for 4.5 years

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The review indicated that COPC (Contaminants of Potential Concern) concentrations in Chedoke Creek, after the spill, were comparable to concentrations measured before the discharge event.

In November, the province issued orders for a third-party evaluation of the CSO, Chedoke Creek and Cootes Paradise following the spill.

In February, the city received an assessment of Chedoke Creek from SLR which targeted a potential post-spill clean-up of the waterway.

READ MORE: Hamilton’s public works GM says ‘glitch’ caused Chedoke Creek sewage spill

That probe made similar recommendations of no action, suggesting any dredging of sludge from the creek likely would do more harm than good to the ecosystem by bringing more contaminants to the surface.

The city has been providing regular updates to the Ministry of Environment, Conservation, and Parks (MECP) since the discovery of the 24-billion-litre spill in 2018.

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