The City of Hamilton is being ordered by the Ministry of Environment to undertake remedial measures to alleviate environmental impacts on Chedoke Creek and Cootes Paradise after massive amounts of sewage leaked into the creek over a four-and-a-half-year period.
In an email to Global News, a ministry spokesperson said it disagrees with the city’s recommended approach to take no remedial action.
It says technical experts identified that water quality continues to be impaired or may become impaired due to the continued release of contaminants in sediment in the affected area, saying the ministry’s review of the data found that the spill added approximately two years of additional annual average total phosphorus loading to the water system.
“A ‘do nothing approach’ is unacceptable and does not address the potential for adverse effect as required by the Environmental Protection Act,” the ministry said.
An environmental impact study ordered by the city and presented to council earlier this year suggested that the spill had no adverse impacts on aquatic vegetation or the fish community in nearby Cootes Paradise.
That study did recommend the city hire a technologist to monitor the water quality within all of Hamilton’s waterways, which the city opted to do.
The ministry is calling on the city to undertake “spot dredging” in the affected areas of Chedoke Creek and “further assess and propose other remedial options for the Cootes Paradise/Western Hamilton Harbour area.”
The city is required to submit a remediation work plan by Jan. 22, 2021 and will be reviewed by ministry technical experts and implemented after the ministry has accepted and agreed to the approaches.
The four-year 24 billion litre leak of untreated wastewater into Chedoke Creek has been blamed on a gate that was left open in an underground holding tank.