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Kawartha Lakes updates residents on the Sturgeon Lake spill

DAN CEARNS, The Standard

KAWARTHA LAKES: The City of Kawartha Lakes has issued an update on the Sturgeon Lake fuel spill.

On April 4th, the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit declared a drinking water advisory, “for those drawing drinking water directly from Sturgeon Lake and part of Pitts Cove Road and Hazel Street to McLernon Street,” after a fuel spill was reported by Ontario’s Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP).

“On March 30th, 2023, there was a fuel spill into Sturgeon Lake, from Thurstonia Park near Dunsford. Since that time, the City has been working with the responsible authorities to contain, clean up and mitigate the effects of the spill. The health and safety of residents, who use the lake for drinking water, is our top priority, alongside limiting environmental damage,” a press release from the City of Kawartha Lakes, dated Wednesday, April 19th, stated.

The press release also explained what the response was like.

“On March 30th, at approximately 10:30 p.m., fuel odours from a culvert were reported to Kawartha Lakes Fire Services. A fuel spill was discovered, and Fire Services immediately installed an absorbent boom, in an attempt to contain the spill. The Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) was notified, and an inspector attended [to] the spill the following day. Kawartha Lakes’ Public Works department retained an environmental consultant and cleanup contractor. The spill was contained from Dock number 06-212 to 06-176, using marine booms that have been sectioned off, with absorbable booms extending to the shore from each dock. In between sections, imbiber beads are being used to absorb any sheen or films.”

The City later found out the spill was “100 litres of weathered diesel fuel.”

“The source remains unknown, and [the consultant] continues to analyze a series of tests [which] were conducted to help determine the source,” the press release added.

On April 13th, the City submitted a proposal, to the MECP, “to flush, clean and restore the shoreline.” The proposal was approved on April 18th.

“We’re coordinating with MECP to facilitate the reopening of the shore as soon as possible. Flushing and cleaning [was] scheduled to start on April 19th and last two to three days (weather depending). Water sample tests will determine when it is appropriate to open the shoreline. The Health Unit will notify residents as soon as it is safe to use the water,” the press release concluded.

Earlier this month, the MECP issued a statement, saying, they “take all spills and threats to the environment very seriously” and stressed they “will stay on top of this issue.”

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