UPDATE FROM THE MINISTRY OF THE ENVIRONMENT, CONSERVATION AND PARKS – FUEL SPILL – FEBRUARY 15, 2019
Point of Loss (area adjacent to 401 up to Aberfoyle Creek)
- The Ministry of Transportation has approved the closure of both eastbound and westbound access ramps to Highway 401, from the Hanlon Expressway, for Tuesday February 19th and Wednesday February 20th from 10pm to 5am. The closure to the westbound access ramp is to allow flushing of a culvert and excavation of impacted soil on the north side of the highway.
- Delineation of the impacted area south of Highway 401 continues and impacted soil continues to be removed off-site for treatment.
- Recent rain and thaw events have mobilized jet fuel previously encapsulated by ice and snow, resulting in the identification of additional localized surface water impacts.
- The consultant has established and is implementing a Daily Creek Assessment Program involving 13 locations along Mill Creek where observations are made on a daily basis.
- Main collection points for the continued recovery of observed product and sheen in surface water have been established where Mill Creek intersects with Concession Road 2, Wellington Road 35, a private dam off Grady Lane as well as select private properties along Mill Creek.
- The consultant has submitted a proposal to the ministry to install a water treatment system at the Concession Road 2 recovery location to treat impacted water. If approved, this would potentially eliminate the need for a complete road closure to allow for a stationary vacuum truck.
- The ministry’s technical support section is currently reviewing the proposal to ensure the proposed system would treat water to a level that is protective of the aquatic environment.
- The consultant continues to collect surface water samples at multiple points along Aberfoyle and Mill Creek from the Point of Loss to just upstream of Main Street in Cambridge.
- On February 9, 2019, the consultant submitted a Surface Water Assessment Report, detailing all surface water sample results collected to date by the consultant. This Report is currently under detailed technical review by the ministry.
- A cursory review indicates that concentrations of contaminants related to the jet fuel spill continue to be found above applicable surface water guidelines near the Point of Loss. While recent rain and flushing events have appeared to temporarily result in higher concentrations, there continues to be a significant downward trend in the concentrations since the initial spill event.
- Furthermore, concentrations downstream of Concession Road 2 have not exceeded any measurable protective surface water guideline since January 25th, even after rain and flushing events.
- Slight hydrocarbon odours continue to be observed at the Shade’s Mill Reservoir outlet; however no visual observation of sheen or free product has been made to date.
- The consultant has established a Private Well Monitoring Program and has sampled select wells that the ministry identified for further assessment based on factors such as well type, depth, proximity to distance of release and residential concern. To date the consultant has sampled five private wells and no concerns have been identified.
- Since January 19th, the consultant has deployed a team of aquatic and terrestrial biologists to the area on a daily basis (as weather permitted) to specifically assess the creek area for impacts to wildlife, including aquatic life and distressed/deceased fish. To date, there have been no reports of any wildlife impacts.
- The ministry continues to be involved to ensure any environmental impacts are properly addressed.