Update on Grand River oil spill

KITCHENER – The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change said that cleaning up the massive oil spill in the Grand River may take a month or longer.

The spill was first noticed Friday, April 29 by a resident who saw an oily sheen on the surface of the river near Kolb Park, but it is possible that the incident occurred a few days prior.

A potential source of the spill had been identified Wednesday, May 4 after a towing company near Kitchener reported an oil spill to the ministry’s Spills Action Centre a day earlier. The name of the company that reported the spill has not yet been released.

The ministry said that the spill reported to the Spills Action Centre claimed about half of an 800-litre storage tank of used motor oil had spilled inside the company’s facility and that the spilled used motor oil is reported to have entered floor drains inside the facility – explaining the direct impact to the storm sewer system that runs into the Grand River.

According to an article from CTV Kitchener News, the ministry says they are investigating other possible sources as well, but as a precaution, the city and region have shut down this company’s access to the sewer system.

The ministry said that since the investigation is still underway, charges or fines will only be given if they are warranted once the investigation ends.

Local officials are continuing their efforts in cleaning up and containing the spill. Booms have been put in the river to prevent the spilled substance from travelling further downstream.

Michael Montour, Director of Six Nations Public Works, said in an emailed statement to the Two Row Times that precautions were made to ensure Ohsweken water supply was protected.

Montour said, “Our water plant operators are notified through Spills Action of Spills impacting the Grand River. In this case our Water Sewer Staff were promptly notified, and are satisfied that the contaminant measures taken in response to the spill are adequate. As with any type of oil spill it tends to remain at the surface, whereas our intake draws from the depths below and we are not likely to see any impact. However our system would remove any amounts that may make it this far downstream. Our water plant operators are on top of it and getting continuous updates on the matter.”

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