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Water Today Title November 27, 2020

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This story is brought to you in part by Biomass Recycle

City staff at Hamilton Water in Ontario have discovered the cause of water contamination in the area of Chedoke Creek and Princess Point and are actively cleaning and testing the water.

Hamilton is a port city of just over 500 000 people on the western edge of Lake Ontario. The Niagara Escarpment divides the city with an expanse of forest, waterfalls, trails and conservation areas.

The City of Hamilton released a statement on July 12 informing people that high levels of bacteria were found in Chedoke Creek and to stay out of the water. Staff proceeded to investigate the cause.

Chedoke Creek which flows into Hamilton Harbour, is quite isolated and does not have any nearby trails. The creek is not typically used for swimming or boating which meant the issue was not noticed right away.

Hamilton Water was alerted by the Royal Botanical Garden and the local Conservation Authority who said the water didn't look quite right which led them to send a crew to investigate.

By July 18 the city had identified the cause as discharge from combined sewer overflow tanks near Main Street and King Street. Staff successfully stopped the discharge and began cleanup operations immediately.

This reporter spoke to Andrew Grice, Director of Hamilton Water, as he returned from the creek today, who explained it was a malfunction that left an opening that permitted sewage to escape and lead to high levels of E. coli in the water.

He said visual and camera inspections allowed them to look into the possible causes and eventually isolate the "fine pace entry into one of the large culverts, a combined sewer that was discharging into Chedoke Creek."

Grice said "we've been collecting samples every day at various locations to continue to monitor E. coli levels within the creek." He mentioned that an immediate improvement in water quality was unlikely but said they would continue to monitor it and expected to receive data on a daily basis.

Concerning the cleanup, he said "we're also on site doing some surface cleaning so there are certainly some floatables ... there is no paper or other types of debris, strictly organic matter but there is quite a bit of it floating around in Chedoke Creek."

Grice said crews were actively working to clean up the creek; using a series of booms and back trucks to clean the surface. Hamilton Water will continue to monitor water quality to ensure it returns to normal levels.


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