Hydro One says on January 4, one of its transformers at the Seaforth Transmission Station failed, resulting in insulating mineral oil being released. Hydro One immediately dispatched its environmental emergency response team to assess the area and begin cleanup efforts.
They say they have engaged with the Municipality of Huron East, Environment Canada and the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks on its response, and that Hydro One takes its responsibility to the environment very seriously, and its goal when responding to spills is to prevent or mitigate impacts on the environment.
**Original story below**
Hydro One crews working near the Seaforth Golf Course have caught the attention of local residents, who say they have been there for a week cleaning up what appears to be an oil spill.
Both Hydro One and the Municipality of Huron East have so far not responded to requests for information regarding why crews are working in the area, which has seen Mississauga-based Accuworx and Hydro One workers in the area laying what looks like filtration equipment across a small creek.
Residents told CKNXNewsToday.ca that it began on January 4, when during the evening, "several people with flashlights" were in the area looking at the creek, before workers and heavy equipment began showing up the following morning.
Since then, workers have been in the area every day.
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One worker near the site says the spill is a "mineral oil," and claimed that it is harmless. The worker, who is not from the area, was surprised that residents had not been informed of the spill. When asked about an origin, the worker declined to answer, but pointed to a nearby Hydro One electrical substation as a possibility.
At that substation, backhoes were observed digging in an area which had a lot of filtration equipment across a small body of water that appears to be a source for the stream that runs through the Seaforth Golf Course. Workers in the area declined to speak to media, directing any questions to Hydro One's head office.
Huron East Mayor Bernie MacLellan commented on the spill afterwards, and says he's been told that a Hydro One transformer is responsible for a leak into the creek.
“What's been reported to me is that there was a transformer that had a failure and it's some sort of oil, whether it's a mineral oil or whatever, has leaked out of it and it has leaked into what was actually a bit of a holding pond and then it did get into the river," MacLellan shared. “As soon as it was discovered, GFL Environmental was contacted. It is an Ontario Hydro situation but they have an outside environmental agency that has been there and they're doing the actual clean-up of it.”
MacLellan adds, it's unfortunate that the water levels were as high as they could possibly get and if they were at today's level it would have been a lot easier to clean up the mess, but they've been working on it for a few days now and are getting closer to having it cleaned up. MacLellan says they're hauling everything away and even digging out the pond to make sure there's nothing left in the soil.