etobicoke creek spill

Toronto creeks are being used for illegal dumping of chemicals and car parts

Just a few months after toxic sludge famously ravaged Mimico Creek and necessitated weeks of extensive cleanup efforts, more Toronto waterways have been contaminated with a large chemical spill and, in a separate incident, a glut of old car parts.

First was the spill, which took place on Tuesday and was attributed to  a local concert hall, of all things. The coloured, oil-like substance smelling of diesel was found to have stemmed from a catch basin on the property of the Rockpile, a music and event venue near Dundas Street West and Highway 427.

The contaminant has now seeped into multiple parts of Etobicoke Creek and headed downstream, and, per CTV News, is said to be "possibly the result of illegal dumping."

As the investigation and cleanup continued through the week, a second unrelated dump site has been reported along another tributary in the area — Mimico Creek again — where hundreds of tires appear to have been stashed under a bridge.

The City of Toronto confirmed in a statement to blogTO that it is in the process of removing the tires, adding that the work is likely to take multiple days due to the sheer number of tires present.

"The tires will be stored by the City until they can be recycled," staff added.

"Rest assured, the City takes these situations very seriously and investigates reports of illegal dumping in accordance with the Littering and Dumping Bylaw and Municipal Code Chapter 743. Residents are encouraged to contact 311 to report littering and illegal dumping of garbage on public or private property."

Given how soon these events took place after the last waterway disaster in the area, the public is understandably concerned about how this keeps happening, with some wondering if penalties for perpetrators are stiff enough.

"Is this not the second major environmental disaster affecting the creek in the last 6 months? Neither the City nor the Province seem to be doing f*** all about this. Absolutely disgusting," one person wrote in a Reddit discussion about the news Thursday.

"Man, poor Etobicoke Creek just can't catch a break," another added.

Some also expressed concern about the impact this week's heavy rains and resulting water treatment plant bypasses will have on the spread, with one person even suggesting that the timing may have been deliberate.

Meanwhile, a few are doubting the Tuesday spill's connection to the Rockpile, with one noting the otherwise industrial neighbourhood.

"It's a music venue with food, not a diesel oil storage place nor a boat where these kind of spills happen. Good chance this is illegal dumping," one person wrote online. "Hopefully Rockpile goes after the idiot who dumped it. No respect for nature."

Thankfully, unlike the Mimico spill that impacted dozens of animals, it doesn't appear that wildlife has been too impacted by this latest issue (yet).

Other recent spills have leaked oil into Birkdale Ravine and a bright blue material into the stream in Tom Riley Park. Etobicoke Creek also turned blood red in 2020 due to a massive ink spill.

Lead photo by

GTD Aquitaine/Wikimedia Commons

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