Saturday, February 8, 2020


Yesterday's Waterloo Region Record carried a story titled "Brantford reports hydrocarbon spill into creek". The creek discharges into the Grand River however it does so downriver of Brantford's intake pipe which provides their raw drinking water. While it appears that various authorities such as the GRCA and MECP (MOE) as well as downriver municipalities were informed promptly apparently the public had to wait a week before they were so advised. While that is not good nevertheless it pales in comparison to Sewergate in Hamilton which refers to the raw sewage discharging through a malfunctioning gate that ended up in the Hamilton Harbour area. That ongoing spill wasn't reported to the public for nearly a year after it was first discovered. Similarly there have been incidents of spills in Elmira that were never reported to anybody or equally bad were actually denied by the guilty party when the authorities came knocking on their doors.

The source of the hydrocarbon spill is suspected to be a former Stelco Fasteners manufacturing plant which is currently undergoing remediation. Apparently a pile of contaminated soil was not adequately covered and likely rainfall had mobilized the hydrocarbon contaminants which flowed into the nearby creek. Clearly there was a failure in regards to best remediation practices, especially with a creek so close nearby.

There had been another spill noted a week earlier in which a red substance was noticed in the Mohawk Canal. It was believed that a car involved in an accident ended up in the canal. My guess would be that the red substance was power steering fluid.

Overall media coverage of these events is important as people realize that eventually so called "contained" substances will end up in the natural environment. Ongoing media coverage greatly assists in raising awareness among us that constant vigilance is required to nip these small but ongoing spills in the bud.

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