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Cleanup of creeks after industrial Toronto fire to take until October, ministry says

Government critics say that Ontario's Ministry of Environment must be more transparent about clean-up efforts at two Etobicoke watersheds after a near-by chemical plant fire plumed hazardous air-borne material and killed several dozen waterfowl this month. Chemicals shimmer on the creek bed at Mimico Creek in Toronto on Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston

The provincial government says the cleanup of chemicals that spilled into two creeks after an industrial fire in west Toronto is expected to take until October. 

A six-alarm fire at Brenntag Canada, a chemical distribution facility that blends lubricating oils, took place on Aug. 11, with runoff flowing into the Humber and Mimico Creeks.

The Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks says it is closely monitoring the situation and expects to remain on site until October. 

It says it is actively engaged with Brenntag Canada, which will be paying for the cleanup, as well as contractor GFL Environmental, Toronto Water and Environment and Climate Change Canada.

The ministry says its staff will be collecting daily water samples and will ensure proper containment and cleanup at the two creeks.  

The NDP says the ministry needs to be more transparent about why the cleanup is expected to take until October, make public what chemicals are involved and share the measures taken to ensure local residents are fully informed on the associated risks at nearby beaches and watersheds. 

The Toronto Wildlife Centre has said thousands of fish, a beaver, 10 ducks and a mink have died after the creeks were contaminated following the fire. It has been working to clean up dozens of residue-covered waterfowl. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 25, 2023. 

The Canadian Press

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