The long-awaited clean-up of the Chedoke Creek sewage spill in Hamilton will resume this Monday after a year of weather delays and negotiations with Indigenous groups halted the work.
The city has also been given an extended deadline to finish the clean-up, now pushed to October 31, to finish dredging the creek.
The city was ordered by the Ministry of Environment to clean-up the creek after it was discovered that 24 billion litres of raw sewage had seeped into the water over a four-year period from 2014 to 2018, affecting not only the creek but surrounding wetlands.
The scope of the spill and its impacts, dubbed SewageGate, was revealed in an investigation by The Hamilton Spectator in 2019.
The city had started dredging last summer, with a December 2022 clean-up deadline, but work was stopped in August 2022 when the Haudenosaunee Development Institute, representing the Haudenosaunee Confederacy Chiefs Council, demanded the city allowed them to monitor the clean-up and pay for their environmental monitors.
The city said agreements with all local Indigenous groups were reached in May of this year.
Those groups include the Six Nations of the Grand River Elected Council, Huron-Wendat First Nation, and Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation regarding the clean up.
Nick Winters, the city’s Director of Water, told city council in an update July 7 that the dredging is expected to take three and a half months.
He said a hydraulic dredger is being mobilized and they are installing a floating pipeline.
“The floating pipeline is used to transport the sediments to the Dredge Material Management Area for dewatering,” Winters wrote.
The work will involve removal of sewage debris along the creek and in an environmentally-sensitive area known as Cootes Paradise.
The debris removal will take place along a stretch of creek between the Desjardins Recreational Trail bridge and the Kay Drage Park bridge.
The clean-up involves the removal of sediment from the creek bottom along with monitoring the impact on species-at-risk in the area and creating habitat enhancements for local species that call the area home, including the Lilliput Mussel, the bluegill, and sunfish.
Milestone Environmental Contracting will perform the work, costing the city almost $6 million.
The city says the sediment removed will be disposed of off-site at a “non-hazardous waste disposal facility.”
Nearly 11,000 cubic meters of sediment is expected to be removed during dredging.