Cleanup of chemical runoff in Etobicoke creeks to last until October, ministry says

As cleanup continues nearly two weeks after a chemical runoff from an industrial fire in Etobicoke affected local creeks, the ministry says crews will likely remain on site maintaining the waterways until October.

A spokesperson for Ontario’s Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks said they’ll be present at Mimico Creek and the Humber Bay Park area “and actively engaged with all relevant parties such as the Brenntag Canada Inc., its contractor GLF Environmental, as well as Toronto Water and Environment and Climate Change Canada.”

“Containment efforts have been successful, and the material was contained within the Humber Bay Park area of Mimico Creek and did not reach open water,” a government spokesperson said. “As of August 21, the oil slurry had been collected, and efforts will focus on the cleanup of the creek banks.”

A six-alarm fire at an Etobicoke industrial building on August 11 led to the chemical spillage in Mimico Creek and Humber Creek. While crews were able to tend to the significant fire at Brenntag Canada, a chemical distribution company, runoff has impacted the local waterways and resulted in the deaths and subsequent rescues of various animals and birds, including ducks and beavers.

RELATED: Beaver, birds among dead wildlife as chemicals from industrial fire impact Toronto rivers

On Monday, Etobicoke-Lakeshore city councillor Amber Morley shared an update through Toronto Water, confirming that drinking water sources remain safe and not impacted.

Morley also shared the latest on the current conditions of multiple waterways in the area. They include the following:

West Deane Park and Echo Valley Park — The creek appears to be running clear. Containment measures are no longer at this location.

Tom Riley Park — Containment and absorbent boom in place, and one vacuum truck to collect material from the boom. Some oil was observed along the booms, but no new material appears to be passing through.


City councillor Amber Morley shared a Google Maps photo of where the Etobicoke industrial fire happened and the chemical runoff affecting local waterways.

Queensway/Mimico — A solid boom containment remains in place. Some brownish material was observed along the sides of the creek north and south of the boom.

Lakeshore/Mimico & Humber Bay Park — Small plumes are present at both the Lakeshore and Humber Bay Park areas.

Hard containment and absorbent booms and oil snare lines have been installed and are positioned to contain any material still in Mimico Creek. Seven vacuum trucks (two at Lakeshore; five at Humber Bay Park) are working with multiple boats to collect and remove contents. Trucks and tanks are posted at the shore to pick up materials from boats.

It’s unclear what type of chemicals are in the runoff, but one Etobicoke resident told hours after the six-alarm fire, he immediately noticed a change in the colour and consistency of Mimico Creek, which runs through Royal Woodbine Golf Course.

RELATED: Chemicals from Etobicoke industrial fire spill over into creek, affecting wildlife

Toronto Wildlife Centre rescue teams were on the scene at the creek on August 12 to assist wildlife impacted by the presence of chemicals in the water, telling CityNews between 40 and 50 ducks may have been affected by the spill.

In an update on Monday, the wildlife centre said its team captured well over 50 ducks in Mimico Creek alone.


A beaver is seen dead near Mimico Creek. The Toronto Wildlife Centre says it continues to collect dead animals that will be tested following an industrial fire in Etobicoke that has resulted in a chemical spill into nearby rivers. Photo: Craig Strathy/CityNews submission

On August 16, the Toronto Wildlife Centre confirmed a young beaver, initially thought to be a rare river otter, had perished due to runoff.

Last week, Councillor Morley acknowledged that many locals have reached out since the fire at Brenntag Canada.

“Residents have been reaching out to my office to share questions and concerns about runoff into Mimico Creek from the industrial fire in North Etobicoke and the impacts on local wildlife. I share your concerns and desire to see the spill cleaned up as soon as possible, and I’ve reached out to Toronto Water and TRCA,” she said in an August 18 note.

Nathalie Karvonen, Executive Director at the Toronto Wildlife Centre, said its Enforcement Branch of Environment and Climate Change Canada continues to collect the dead bodies of various birds and animals and have them necropsied.

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