Downtown section of Rideau Canal added to federal list of contaminated sites
A section of the Rideau Canal, as seen from the Mackenzie King Bridge in Ottawa. (Ted Raymond / CFRA)
Ted Raymond, Newstalk 580 CFRA
Published Thursday, November 2, 2017 5:57PM EDT
Parks Canada says a section of the Rideau Canal is now on a federal list of contaminated sites.
This all stems from contaminated sediments found at the bottom the Canal between the Ottawa Locks and Bronson Street.
“Based on the test results, this section of the Rideau Canal in downtown Ottawa from the Ottawa Locks to Bronson Street is now being listed on the Federal Contaminated Sites Inventory,” Parks Canada said in an information bulletin Thursday. “As this stretch of the Rideau Canal has a long history of industrial use and is in the middle of a major urban area, and given that other parts of the Rideau Canal are already listed on the Federal Contaminated Sites inventory, finding contaminated sediment in this section of the Canal was not unexpected.”
Parks Canada says the risk to public health is low, because the sediments are trapped in the bed of the Canal. "It is generally only a concern if someone were to have direct contact with the contaminated sediments on the bed of the Rideau Canal," Parks Canada says.
According to the Federal Contaminated Sites Inventory page for the Canal from the Ottawa Locks to Bronson, suspected contaminants include: petroleum hydrocarbons; polycylic aromatic hydrocarbons; and metal, metalloid, and organometallic products. The page also lists surface water as well as sediments as contaminated media.
It should be noted that, at the time of publishing, this page still lists this area of the Canal as a “suspected site” and may be updated.
In a statement to CTV News, Parks Canada Spokesperson Audrey Champagne said, "The results showed that some heavy metals, petroleum hydrocarbons, and other substances, had concentrations higher than federal and provincial guidelines."
Similar contaminants were found in those sites as well.
In its info bulletin, Parks Canada says it will be “working with Treasury Board and other partners, including the City of Ottawa and the National Capital Commission, to explore best practices regarding mitigation or remediation of the contaminated sediment in this section of the Rideau Canal.”