- Oil booms and absorbent pads remain in place along the shoreline of Byers Pond following a vehicular crash at 10th Line and Main Street earlier this month.
- On December 3, a vehicle lost control and collided with a utility pole on 10th Line. The impact caused the pole to break, and the mounted electrical transformer crashed to the ground.
- The damaged transformer proceeded to leak mineral oil onto the roadway, some of which entered the area’s storm sewer system. The oil is used to insulate and cool the transformer as it converts and distributes electricity.
- That oil proceeded to Byers Pond, which is a stormwater management system fed by the impacted sewers.
- “Our crews immediately laid down absorbent materials to contain the mineral oil at the scene,” a Hydro One spokesperson informed Bullet Point News. “Our environmental emergency response team was dispatched immediately, and work began to remove the mineral oil from the sewer and pond.”
- Booms in place at the pond aim to manage the spill and quarantine any residual oil still transiting the sewer system, and absorbent pads are collecting oil on the water’s surface.
Bullet Point News requested additional detail from the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville and Hydro One regarding how much oil entered the sewer system and pond and whether or not the spill included any hazardous compounds. Town spokesperson Glenn Jackson responded by saying the containment and cleanup effort undertaken by Hydro One and GFL Environmental “was successful,” but said any further inquiries should be directed to them.
Hydro One did not directly address those questions in their response.
In a brief public statement following the collision and spill, the Town said that no environmental threat was posed by the leaked oil and that the spill has been contained. However, mineral oil could still be seen on the pond surface inside and outside the boom barriers over the weekend.
“Our team of specially trained responders provides 24/7 spill management services,” Hydro One explained. “Our goal when responding to spills is to prevent or mitigate potential impacts on the environment and to minimize customer service interruptions.”
According to their own data, Hydro One was able to recover 95% of spilled liquid materials in 2022.
While Hydro One did not provide us with an estimated completion date for the cleanup, we were told that they will continue to monitor the pond to ensure any remaining oil is captured.