City of Hamilton to leave sludge from 24 billion-litre spill in Chedoke Creek

Amid a deadline this week for the city of Hamilton to come up with a plan for the remediation of Chedoke Creek, a city study is suggesting against the dredging of sludge from a 24 billion-litre spill.

An update from the city’s public works department on Thursday says recent testing of the creek shows the water quality is back to a state consistent with urbanized watersheds.

The city has been providing regular updates through a private consulting agency to the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) since a 24-billion-litre spill of sewage and runoff water into the creek over a four-year period.

An ecological risk assessment from SLR Consulting says dredging the creek bottom would harm whatever wildlife still survives, adding that future sewer overflows during storms will just “recontaminate” the area.

General Manager of Public Works Dan McKinnon said the suggestion from the report is “sound advice.”

“The notion of dredging, you’re going to have unintended consequences with vertebrates possible, possible further contamination as a result of drifting and that kind of thing,” said McKinnon.

“This is the normal. And so until we find ways to make improvements with the normal, doing any focused remediation in the Blue Square probably is not the best investment.”

Meanwhile, Gord Wichert, an ecologist with SLR, added that it’s hard to determine if the bacterial pollution currently found in the creek bed actually came from the 2018 spill or from past abuse.

Going forward, the study recommends an enhanced monitoring program as the city’s response to a provincial deadline to submit remediation options for Chedoke Creek.

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