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Chedoke Creek remediation update: Ministry approves City’s remediation workplan for targeted dredging in Chedoke Creek

HAMILTON, ON - The City of Hamilton has received Ministry of the Environment, Conservation & Parks (MECP) approval to implement its remediation workplan for targeted dredging in Chedoke Creek, and begin the process of preparing a workplan for Cootes Paradise, which will detail the specific scope of offsetting works outlined in the Cootes Paradise Report that went to City Council in March.

This spring, the City began executing some preliminary activities outlined in the remediation workplan for targeted dredging in Chedoke Creek in advance of the approval to mitigate any delays, and will begin working on implementing the rest of the workplan while awaiting further clarity from the MECP on its expected timeline for completion of the work.

The MECP approval also indicated the desire for the City to, as soon as possible, implement short-term direct measures, such as small-scale aeration systems, floating vegetated mats, algal mats or decaying vegetation harvesting in areas around lower Chedoke Creek and Princess Point to ensure conditions are not further degraded with the coming hot and dry summer season. The project team will work on implementing these measures as quickly as possible.

Staff are preparing a report for an upcoming General Issues Committee (GIC) meeting that will provide further information.

The City of Hamilton continues to be committed to the health of the watershed and to ensuring members of the public receive regular updates on the City’s efforts.

Background:

  • The City was served Director’s Order No.1-PE3L3 (Order) by the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation & Parks (MECP) on December 4, 2020, as a result of the Main/King CSO discharge that occurred between January 2014 and July 2018. The first part of the Order required the City to develop a Chedoke Creek Workplan, which identified the remedial strategy for targeted dredging in Chedoke Creek. The second part of the Order required the City to develop the Cootes Paradise Report, which proposed the remediation and mitigation works to offset the impacts associated with the added nutrient loading to Cootes Paradise and the Western Hamilton Harbour Area.
  • The City submitted a workplan outlining plans for targeted dredging in Chedoke Creek to the MECP in February 2021 and is undertaking sampling and testing work required to implement the work outlined in the plan.

Timeline of recent events related to the Orders:

  • November 20, 2020 – City receives Provincial Officer’s Order from the MECP. The Order requires the City to submit a work plan outlining dredging for Chedoke Creek, and a report outlining remediation plans for Cootes Paradise by January 22, 2021. Additionally, a work plan and implementation plan related to the remediation of Cootes Paradise would be required within five weeks of the Cootes remediation plan being approved.
  • November 25, 2020 – City requests a review of the Provincial Officer’s Order to seek clarity on what specific work needs to take place and what specific water quality standards the City is being asked to meet under the Order. The City also asked the Director to consider if eight weeks is a reasonable time frame to adequately develop a plan that meets the MECP’s expectations.
  • December 4, 2020 – City receives Director’s Order from the MECP, which is in response to the request for review of the Provincial Officer’s Order. The MECP extended some deadlines outlined within the original Order, but did not extend the overall time required to complete the work.
  • December 9, 2020 –The MECP issues charges to the City related to the discharge into Chedoke Creek, under the authority of the Environmental Protection Act and the Ontario Water Resources Act.
  • December 16, 2020 – City chooses not to appeal the MECP’s Director’s Order and begins planning for the work outlined in the Order.
  • January 15, 2021 – The City was required to submit to the MECP a written notice that the City retained the services of a consultant to complete the workplan.
  • February 22, 2021 – The first part of the Order was due to the MECP, which included a workplan outlining plans for targeted dredging in Chedoke Creek. The workplan is pending approval.
  • March 22, 2021 – The second part of the MECP’s Director’s Orders are due to the Ministry. This includes a report proposing remediation/mitigation methods for Cootes Paradise and the Western Hamilton Harbour Area. The report is pending approval by the MECP.

Additionally, in September 2020, the City retained the services of a consultant to complete a Chedoke Creek Water Quality Improvement Framework Study. Independent to the work in the Order, the study has identified short-term and long-term operating, capital and policy work that will improve water quality within the entire Chedoke Creek watershed.


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