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No lasting environmental effects from sewage spill: staff report

A City staff report says there were no lasting environmental impacts for the four-year sewage discharge into Chedoke Creek and Cootes Paradise that became known as Sewergate. As a result staff are recommending that no further surface monitoring is warranted. Longer term, though staff are recommending “a water quality program, in consultation with external stakeholders, that will improve our governance of urban watercourses that receive discharges from City infrastructure. The City of Hamilton is in the process of retaining a Water Quality Technologist to oversee this program, an outline of which will be provided to the MECP by May 1, 2020, in response to the fourth item of the Director’s Order.” The staff report reads in part:

“The Director’s Order requires the City to undertake several studies to evaluate the environmental impacts of the combined sewage spill from the Main/King CSO tank. In response to the first two items of the Director’s Order, on February 14, 2020 the City submitted a comprehensive Environmental Risk Assessment and associated remediation recommendations for Chedoke Creek to the MECP. Since that time staff have worked closely with SLR to complete an EIE on Cootes Paradise which is the downstream receiver for the Main/King CSO tank. The EIE, along with the City’s proposed remediation recommendations, must be submitted to the MECP by May 1, 2020 to satisfy the third requirement of the Director’s Order. The EIE was completed to assess whether there was an environmental impact to Cootes Paradise from the combined sewage discharged between January 28, 2014 and July 18, 2018 from the Main/King CSO outfall along Chedoke Creek. The evaluation included four ecosystem components: water quality, sediment quality, aquatic vegetation, and fish community. Using a variety of over 90 existing information sources, the EIE included comparisons of data (where available) representing conditions before, during and after the Main/King CSO discharge event. Locations in Cootes Paradise were compared with locations near Lower Chedoke Creek to evaluate the impacts of CSO discharge on Cootes Paradise.

The City recognizes the value of the information provided and the good faith shown by the Royal Botanical Gardens in order to respond to the Director’s Order. Generally, it was found that the CSO discharge event created short-term water quality impacts but no long-term impacts on Cootes Paradise we observed based on the information reviewed. The EIE concluded that no remediation activities are recommended pertaining to the CSO spill event and that there is also no evidence of ongoing environmental impact. Accordingly, a surface water monitoring program for the area subjected to the sewage spill, prescribed as the fourth item of the Director’s Order, is unwarranted.”

The full consultant report can be accessed here:

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