City scrambling to contain spill of petroleum-looking product into Don River

CBC news – The city of Toronto is scrambling to clean up and determine why a petroleum-like product has leaked out of one of the city’s sewer tanks and into the Don River.

Toronto Water got a call two weeks ago about a fuel-like sheen on the waterway near Bayview Avenue and Gerrard Street East, Bill Shea, director of distribution and collection, told CBC Toronto on Thursday.

Staff immediately put out booms and absorbent material to absorb the substance and stop it from spreading further, Shea said.

The city will run tests to determine the exact nature of the substance.

Shea added that the substance appears to be leaching from a nearby brownfield and getting into a large tank that’s part of the sewer system on the west side of Bayview.


Brownfield monitored by the province


The brownfield is registered with the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, meaning it’s monitored by the province, Shea said.

It took some time for the city to determine exactly where the substance was coming from, according to Shea. Now that staff has figured it out, they will begin work on solving the problem, he said.

City staff will build a road into the area this weekend, fence it off and separate the offending product from the water, according to Shea.

Pumping out the tank should only take hours, he said. “The only problem here is that it appears that this petroleum-fuel oil is coming in through the walls of the tank and getting into the water,” he said.

So Toronto Water staff will then have to inspect and repair the tank, a process that could take up to a week. “But at least by then we’ve taken care of the problem,” he said.