The province’s Ministry of Environment is watching closely as the City of Saskatoon deals with the discovery of contamination along the banks of the South Saskatchewan River.

'Certainly we'll await the city's site activities or closure report '-Ralph Bock, Ministry of Environment.

The contamination was unearthed by work crews who are trying to shore up an area of unstable ground along the river bank on Saskatchewan Crescent, near 17th Street East.

Earlier this month, letters were sent out to residents who live nearby warning them that contaminated soil was found in the area, and that steps were being taken to clean it up. The city also advised the provincial government.

The Ministry of Environment’s manager of hazardous materials and impacted sites Ralph Bock said the work crews found a known carcinogen, along with lead and heavy metals. What he doesn’t know is the source.  

"I think that the investigation into where that material came from will come in the city's further reporting to us."

Contamination not a risk to the public

Bock doesn't think the contamination poses a risk to people living nearby, and suggests the city has done a good job of cleaning up the work site. Still, he said, they are monitoring.

"Certainly we'll await the city's site activities or closure report that will confirm that they've taken the soil samples that confirm the material has been removed."

According to Bock, this is not the first time the City of Saskatoon has had to deal with these sorts of contaminants. He said the same sort of material was found at the River Landing development. 

A spokesperson at city hall said work to stabilize the riverbank continues.