Oil spill cleanup underway at Little Rouge Creek

Oil spilling into Little Rouge Creek contains no gasoline or other chemicals, workers at the site say.

Their conclusion contradicts earlier speculation by Ontario’s Environment Ministry.

“Originally people said they were smelling gasoline,” said Dave Rennie, a Direct Line environmental service worker. “But they’re draining gasoline just up the hill [at Standard Auto Wreckers] all the time, so of course you’re going to smell gasoline.

“If there was gasoline or other chemicals, we’d have to dig this whole creek up. It doesn’t rise to the surface like oil does.”

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Dykes have been built in the creek near Steeles Avenue East and Sewells Road to try to isolate the spill, which originated from Standard Auto Wreckers, a car-crushing company sitting adjacent to the creek. The company created a stronghold with rows of booms and vacuum trucks to keep the spill from flowing into the Rouge River.

Environment Ministry spokesperson Kate Jordan said the time of year may aid their work in protecting the creek’s ecosystem. Fish spawning season is over, and so wildlife around the creek may be sparser than in summer months.

The ministry is still working, however, to analyze what impact the spill will have on vegetation and animal habitat downstream.

This is not the first time Standard Auto Wreckers has been under the ministry’s watch.

“We have had dealings with the company in the past,” Jordan said.

The ministry has put the company under an order, which extends further than just a simple clean up. The company will be forced to find the root of the problem.

Jordan said municipal drinking water will not be affected, as the spill will not travel as far as Lake Ontario.