Chedoke Creek dredging operation to begin on Wednesday

The city of Hamilton is ready to dredge Chedoke Creek, four years after the public discovered that 24 billion litres of sewage spilled into Cootes Paradise from a sewer valve that was partially opened from 2014 to 2018.

The city estimates the project will take four months or less to complete and aims to be finished by Dec. 31

24 billion litres of sewage spilled into Cootes Paradise through Chedoke Creek between 2014 and 2018. (City of Hamilton)

The city announced Tuesday that it is ready to begin "in-water targeted dredging work" in Chedoke Creek. 

The city estimates the project will take four months or less to complete and aims to be finished by Dec. 31 at the latest. The city hired Milestone Environmental Contracting Inc. to complete the work for just under $6 million. 

In a Tuesday statement, the city said that residents in the Cootes Paradise area may notice an "increased level of truck traffic" on Macklin Street North, and construction sites on Longwood Road South, and near the Desjardin Trail. 

Kay Drage Park and the access trail behind the Nicholas Mancini Centre will both be closed for the duration of the project. 

On Thursday afternoon, the Desjardin pedestrian bridge will be closed while the dredging machinery is placed in the creek. 

The dredging crew will work on dredging the creek from 7a.m. until 7p.m. until the project is complete. 

24 billion litres of sewage spilled into Chedoke Creek 

From 2014 to 2018, a valve on the city's combined sewer overflow (CSO) system was left ajar and allowed 24 billion litres of sewage to spill into Chedoke Creek, and drain out into Cootes Paradise. The prolonged spill caused a layer of biohazardous sediment to settle at the bottom of the creek. 

The city of Hamilton was served a Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) order on Dec. 9 2020, which ordered the city to restore the creek by Oct. 31 2021.

The city missed that target date, and has been working with MECP to finish the work by the new deadline, Dec. 31 2022. 

Remediation in the creek

In April 2021, the city used drones to map out locations for the dredging project, focusing largely on where the spill originated in Chedoke Creek, where Chedoke Creek connects with Lake Ontario at Princess Point, and the eastern shore of Cootes Paradise, where the sewage was carried. 

The dredging operation proceeding on Wednesday will focus solely on Chedoke Creek. 

This summer the city completed multiple environmental tests, including locating and relocating, this past June, endangered Lilliput Mussels who live in Cootes Paradise. 

The plan is for contractors to remove layers of contaminated sediment, left at the bottom of Chedoke Creek from the original spill, and reintroduce it to Hamilton's sewer system. 

The city has provided an interactive map with information about the spill and the clean up efforts. 

In a statement, the city said, "The City of Hamilton continues to be committed to the health of the watershed and to ensuring members of the public receive regular updates on the City's efforts."


Cara Nickerson is a journalist with CBC Hamilton and CBC Windsor. She covers all topics, but has a special interest in reporting on social issues and community events.