Material seeping out of former dump in Canatara Park remains an issue

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Photo of Lake Chipican looking south, taken winter 2013/14.

A combination of oil and diesel fuel that has been seeping out of a former City of Sarnia dump located at the south of the signature Canatara Park continues to receive attention as City Council approved the transfer of $54,000 from its Capital Reserve and another $55,357.44 from a newly established Environmental Reserve Fund at its regularly scheduled meeting on Monday (Feb. 2).

The $54,000 will cover a shortfall coming out of 2013 while the $55,357.44 will pay for installation of two new extraction wells recommended in a report by Golder Associates, the City’s environmental consultant.

With the approval of the $55,357.44 from the Environmental Reserve, the balance is now $44,642.56. The uncommitted balance of the Capital Reserve, after the $54,000 transfer, is now at $673,953.

Seepage from the former dump was first noticed as a migrating plume of material on Lake Chipican in 2011. An oil recovery system was subsequently installed adjacent to the southwest shore of the lake.

The five in-ground pumps effectively removed the floating oil that was accumulating along a sheet pile wall that was originally installed in 2002, according to a report that City Council received.

By October 2012, a finger-shaped plume of migrating oil was detected in the forested area between Lake Chipican and the Canatara Animal Farm, leading to the installation of two extraction wells, which up until now have been operated on a manual basis.

The new work will include an automated system to pump higher volumes of the material than were initially projected. The oil/diesel material is stored in tanks which are then emptied and disposed of in accordance with Ministry of the Environment regulations.

A long-term strategy for dealing with the material seeping from what is described as the former Michigan Avenue landfill is expected to be delivered to City Council sometime this spring.

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