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Case not closed on Mount Pearl oil spill

The Power’s Pond walking trail boardwalk remains closed off as environmental clean-up continues in Mount Pearl.
The Power’s Pond walking trail boardwalk remains closed off as environmental clean-up continues in Mount Pearl. - Ashley Fitzpatrick

Search for Power’s Pond area polluter continues

A section of the Power’s Pond walking trail in Mount Pearl remained closed as of mid-day Friday, with response ongoing to a discovery of oil in wetland in the area back on June 1.

“The polluter has not yet been identified,” a Service NL spokeswoman confirmed for The Telegram on Thursday.

About 2,000 litres of product has been recovered to date, they stated.

“Both Service NL and the Department of Municipal Affairs and Environment have been engaged throughout this incident and will continue to monitor the area and to work with the City of Mount Pearl to prevent similar situations in the future,” read the emailed response to questions.

The City of Mount Pearl issued a news release on Friday evening, saying the city’s plan is to have the walking trail re-opened on Thursday, July 12.

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Testing for the city has shown what is being pulled out of the area — including through absorbent pads, set beside and underneath the boardwalk, checked daily — is a mixture of diesel oil and motor oil.

“The cleanup is a work in progress,” said Mayor Dave Aker, in the statement.  

It noted some of the planks on the boardwalk have been stained and will have barricades placed on them for now. These stained planks will be replaced in late summer or early fall, with Aker committing to fully restoring the popular walk.

Service NL remains the lead agency on the case, according to Environment and Climate Change Canada.

The feds confirmed this week the spill was reported through the national environmental emergency centre line back on June 1. The Telegram was told federal level officials provided information to the city on how to minimize environmental impacts.

“Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Enforcement Branch is aware of the incident and is in the process of gathering information,” it stated.

“Given the incident is ongoing, we cannot comment any further.”

In a June 1 statement, the city noted oil sheens were reported in the area in both 2015 and 2017, but in those cases it was determined it was the result of “naturally occurring biological processes.” No concentrations of oil were detected in those cases, the statement said. 

ashley.fitzpatrick@thetelegram.com

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