As clean up continues, Ministry monitoring oil spill near East Lake

Protective booms and absorbent drop sheets collect an oily substance from a nearby solar farm build in Athol. (Submitted Photo)



An oil spills firm retained by a North York-based solar energy company called Abundant Solar Energy is conducting a clean up exercise at a creek near Cherry Valley from a leaking transformer.

Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks spokesperson Gary Wheeler confirmed to the Gazette that on Friday, the ministry was notified about an oily sheen in a creek near Cherry Valley, Prince Edward County. Prince Edward County municipal staff initially responded and deployed absorbent booms and pads in the creek to contain the sheen.

Evidence of oil leaking from a transformer up stream is visible in this photo of a creek that runs into East Lake. (Submitted Photo)

Wheeler told the Gazette Ministry staff also attended the site and determined the source of the sheen was transformer oil from a transformer at a nearby solar farm currently under construction.

The site of the solar farm is on Miller Rd, about 200 m west of Mowbray Road.

“The spill of transformer oil impacted soils in the immediate vicinity and in a farmer’s field, and migrated to a creek which flows towards East Lake,” Wheeler said. “No impacts to East Lake have been reported to date.”

According to the MOE, the solar farm company retained a cleanup contractor who also implemented measures (absorbent pads and booms) to contain the oil in the creek. Monitoring and replacement of absorbent materials has been ongoing and will continue as required.

The solar farm company has retained an environmental consultant to coordinate additional sampling and assessment of the impacted area.

“Ministry staff continue to work with the solar farm company to ensure the remaining spilled material is cleaned up and that any contaminated soil is removed,” Wheeler said “The Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks takes all threats to the natural environment very seriously. It is the ministry’s role to ensure that appropriate actions are taken to contain and clean up spills, and to ensure that any environmental impacts are mitigated.”

Inquires to Abundant Solar Energy have yet to be returned but this story will be updated further.