Kitchener-Waterloo

Green Leader Mike Schreiner questions response to jet fuel spill now contaminating creeks

The jet fuel spill on Highway 401 happened on Sunday morning, but clean-up efforts didn't start until Monday at noon, Green Party of Ontario Leader Mike Schreiner says.

Tanker truck crash near Cambridge leaked jet fuel onto road, 2 Cambridge water wells now shut down

Green Party of Ontario Leader Mike Schreiner says he'll be asking the Ministry of Environment why there was a delay in their response to the Cambridge jet fuel spill. (Flickr)

Guelph MPP and Green Party of Ontario Leader Mike Schreiner says he'll question the province's Ministry of Environment about why there was a delay in cleaning up a jet fuel spill near Cambridge, Ont. 

On Sunday morning, a truck carrying 50,000 litres of jet fuel collided with a passenger vehicle in the eastbound lanes of Highway 401. The OPP said the truck fell onto its side and spilled fuel all over the highway. 

That fuel has since made its way into nearby creeks.

Schreiner said he has been "monitoring" the situation and would've liked to have seen a quicker response.

"The accident happened on Sunday morning, but from my understanding, the minstry cleanup and containment didn't start happening until Monday around noon," Schreiner said. 

He said he's concerned about the water and wildlife in the area.

The ministry, however, disputes Schreiner's claims. In an email to CBC News, the ministry said "environmental officers were at the scene of the incident and began overseeing the clean-up by 3 a.m. Sunday morning." 

"Ministry environmental officers have been involved daily at the scene since Sunday," the email said. 

Wells closed down

The ministry says they are "working to ensure the owners of the spilled material are aware of their responsibilities and take the necessary steps to clean up and mitigate the impacts." 

It says vacumm trucks are skimming impacted water in the wetlands south of the accident site, and crews are addressing contaiminated soil in nearby ditches as well as adjacent wetland areas. 

Booms have also been deployed at Aberfoyle Creek and Mill Creek, including the Concession 2 bridge in Puslinch and Gore Road bridge. 

The Ministry of Environment says there's "been no observed impact to the Shade's Mill Conservation Area at this time," and an ocean boom has been deployed there for "precautionary measure." 

Two wells serving the Shade's Mill water treatment plant have also been shut down by the Region of Waterloo for caution. City of Cambridge officials say the drinking water is still safe. 

Schreiner said he hasn't been able to ask the ministry about the delay yet, but he has questions. 

"I'll be asking those questions, but I don't want to divert attention away from the work that's being done to contain and clean up," he said. 

"My primary concerns are affects on drinking water and on just habitat and wildlife, like fish in the river." 

A stretch of Highway 401 was closed in both directions in Cambridge, Ont. after a tanker truck spilled jet fuel on the road following a crash. (Ontario Provincial Police/Sgt. Kerry Schmidt/Twitter)

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