City of Hamilton environmental study suggests Cootes Paradise cleanup ‘not required’

An environmental impact study is suggesting the remediation of Cootes Paradise will not be required, despite a 24-billion-litre spill of sewage and runoff water from Chedoke Creek over a four-year period.

The environmental impact evaluation (EIE) study from SLR Consulting — the firm hired by the city to evaluate the waterway after orders from the province — says an assessment of available information shows no adverse impacts on aquatic vegetation or the fish community in nearby Cootes Paradise.

The study, derived from a number of city reports, research publications, data sets and photographs, will come before councillors at a virtual meeting scheduled for Wednesday morning.

It focuses on the Main/King combined sewer overflow (CSO) facility which discharged the sewage and water down Chedoke Creek and into the south shore of Cootes Paradise between January 2015 and July 2018.

“The review of surface water quality data indicates that COPCs (Contaminants of Potential Concern) concentrations in Chedoke Creek after the discharge event are comparable to concentrations measured before the discharge event,” the report said in its executive summary.

The summary goes on to suggest that further monitoring of the waterways is “not warranted” since there is no “evidence of ongoing environmental impact.”

Despite the recommendations, it’s expected the city will have to go forward with some sort of surface monitoring program as per orders from the province issued in November.

In February, the city looked at an assessment of Chedoke Creek from SLR which targeted a potential post-spill clean-up of the waterway.

That probe made similar recommendations of no action suggesting any dredging of sludge from the creek likely would do more harm than good to the ecosystem by bringing more contaminates to the surface.

The city has been providing regular updates to the Ministry of Environment, Conservation, and Parks (MECP) since the discovery of the 24-billion-litre spill in 2018.

The general manager of public works, Dan McKinnon, told Global News in November a bypass gate in the sewer overflow tank at the CSO should have been closed but was left open for four years.

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