Jackson Creek Environmental Remediation Update March 27, 2023

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Peterborough, ON - Surface water testing in Little Lake last week came back negative for petroleum hydrocarbons following the containment and cleanup efforts after discovery of an oil sheen on Jackson Creek on Thursday, March 16, 2023.

Containment, cleanup and monitoring efforts remain ongoing as the City of Peterborough works with the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks to investigate the contamination and to consider potential additional measures.

Based on the conditions in Jackson Creek, it appears that no additional fuel is being added to the oil sheen on Jackson Creek – that the source of the contamination has stopped.

The source of the contamination on Jackson Creek is unknown; however, there is known historical contamination in the area, including on a City-owned property.

When contamination was identified on Jackson Creek in August last year, the City immediately took action to contain and clean up the contamination. It engaged an environmental consultant to specify emergency clean-up in the Jackson Creek outlet, as well as consider how the City could help ensure that the contamination was not potentially coming from its property on Townsend Street. The plan was reviewed and approved by the Ministry of the Environment. The City immediately undertook a geophysical survey of its property that discovered a previously unidentified buried tank. It removed the empty tank as part of the precautionary remediation efforts. Through last fall and winter, the City installed a Permeable Reactive Barrier on its property to capture and remediate any potential contamination.

When the City discovered an oil sheen on Jackson Creek on March 16, 2023, it immediately took action to contain and clean up the contamination and it notified the Ministry of the Environment.

The source of the contamination has not been identified; however, based on the limited nature of the contamination that does not appear to be continuing, one possibility is that the oil sheen is residual or remaining from the contamination last summer and fall that was caught upstream over the winter.

The City and the Ministry of the Environment are continuing to monitor and investigate. At this time, it does not appear that additional contamination is getting into the creek. As the source is unknown, monitoring will continue to ensure immediate response in the case of any future contamination.