Rideau Canal fish being tested for mercury, other heavy metals
Testing comes after the area was listed as as contaminated site by Parks Canada
Fish in the Rideau Canal are being tested for PCBs, mercury and other heavy metals, the federal environment ministry has confirmed.
On Thursday, Parks Canada listed a downtown stretch of the waterway as a contaminated area.
The Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change is testing fish collected over the summer from Dow's Lake, as well as from three locations on the Rideau River and five on the Ottawa River, spokesman Gary Wheeler told CBC News in an email.
There is concern that the contamination could spread to other wildlife if the fish are eaten, Wheeler said. The ministry has said the risk to humans, however, is low.
Officials have said the discovery of contamination is not surprising — the canal has been home to a paint factory and has had both trains running along its edge and steam-powered boats hauling industrial goods across its surface.
Wheeler said the ministry hoped to complete the fish testing "as soon as possible."