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Cleanup underway after oil sheen found on Jackson Creek near Little Lake in Peterborough

Public works crews spent Thursday putting up barriers to contain a spill into Little Lake in Peterobrough, Ont. Harrison Perkins/Special to Global News Peterborough

Retainment and cleanup continues after an oil sheen was found on Jackson Creek at the outlet to Little Lake on Thursday in Peterborough, Ont.

On Thursday public works began setting up barriers to contain a shiny residue discovered flowing into the lake from the Jackson Creek near the Holiday Inn hotel. Retainment work continued Thursday by city staff and independent contractors.

Read more: Cleanup efforts underway after oil spill into Humber River in Toronto

The City of Peterborough says the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks has been notified of the incident.

“The city immediately took action to contain and remove the contamination, consulted with an environmental consultant, and retained multiple remediation contractors to remove the contamination,” the city issued in a statement.

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Several people on Thursday reported to Global News Peterborough that a smell from the contaminated area was “quite strong” and they shared concerns for wildlife.

The city on Friday afternoon says the investigation continues into the source of the contamination.

“There are known historical contaminations in the area associated with several properties,” the city stated.

Peterborough Public Health on Friday afternoon said the “fuel oil spill” is believed to be from historical contamination of groundwater.

The health unit said it is working with city partners and the Ministry of Environment to obtain more information, including “any results that could indicate a possible risk to human health.”

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“Impact beyond the local area is not anticipated at this time,” the health unit stated. “However, out of an abundance of caution, the Ministry has ordered surface water sampling to be conducted to ensure the safety of downstream water users.”

Anyone downstream from the city should report the presence of oil sheens or fuel odour to the Spills Action Centre by calling 1-866-MOE-TIPS (1-866-663-8477) or filing a report online at https://www.ontario.ca/page/report-pollution-and-spills.
The city says its municipal water supply is unaffected by this spill because the municipal water supply is drawn upstream and treated before going into residents’ homes.

The city noted last summer it conducted remediation work on city-owned property identified as potential sources of contamination and installed a reactive barrier from November 2022 to January 2023 through a plan approved by the Ministry of the Environment.

“With the new contamination coming from an unknown source or sources, the city is working with the Ministry of the Environment on further investigation in the area and considering measures in addition to the immediate cleanup measures that are in place,” the city stated.

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