Lyons Creek East Sediment Cleanup Project

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Join representatives of the Niagara River Remedial Action Plan (RAP) program on May 30, 2023 (6:30- 8:30 p.m.) to learn about past and present sediment cleanup plans for a portion of Lyons Creek, east of the Welland Canal. Registration is required to attend.

About the project

A portion of Lyons Creek East is contaminated with historic sources of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). It is the last of 14 sites identified for cleanup as part of the Niagara River RAP.

Collaborative monitoring has been ongoing for more than 15 years as part of a natural recovery approach in 2008, selected through scientific evidence and public consultation. Monitoring included many lines of evidence such as: sediment, water, fish, aquatic bugs, turtle eggs.

Recent results suggest a more active remediation approach is needed. Throughout the next year, we will be gathering additional information to determine future cleanup options for the site, and engaging with the community to support decision-making.

We encourage you to continue checking back for updates on this project.


HOW TO GET INVOLVED & PARTICIPATE:

  1. Review documents, FAQs, and resources on this page.
  2. Attend the upcoming public information centre on May 30, 2023 (6:30 - 8:30 p.m.) Registration is required to attend. Presentation will begin at 7 p.m.
  3. Submit written comments or questions using the Q&A tool below.
  4. Visit niagarariver.ca to learn more about the Niagara River Remedial Action Plan including other efforts to improve water quality and ecosystem health.

All questions / comments are reviewed by staff but we may not be able to reply to all of them. For inquiries not related to this project, please visit npca.ca/contact.

Join representatives of the Niagara River Remedial Action Plan (RAP) program on May 30, 2023 (6:30- 8:30 p.m.) to learn about past and present sediment cleanup plans for a portion of Lyons Creek, east of the Welland Canal. Registration is required to attend.

About the project

A portion of Lyons Creek East is contaminated with historic sources of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). It is the last of 14 sites identified for cleanup as part of the Niagara River RAP.

Collaborative monitoring has been ongoing for more than 15 years as part of a natural recovery approach in 2008, selected through scientific evidence and public consultation. Monitoring included many lines of evidence such as: sediment, water, fish, aquatic bugs, turtle eggs.

Recent results suggest a more active remediation approach is needed. Throughout the next year, we will be gathering additional information to determine future cleanup options for the site, and engaging with the community to support decision-making.

We encourage you to continue checking back for updates on this project.


HOW TO GET INVOLVED & PARTICIPATE:

  1. Review documents, FAQs, and resources on this page.
  2. Attend the upcoming public information centre on May 30, 2023 (6:30 - 8:30 p.m.) Registration is required to attend. Presentation will begin at 7 p.m.
  3. Submit written comments or questions using the Q&A tool below.
  4. Visit niagarariver.ca to learn more about the Niagara River Remedial Action Plan including other efforts to improve water quality and ecosystem health.

All questions / comments are reviewed by staff but we may not be able to reply to all of them. For inquiries not related to this project, please visit npca.ca/contact.

Frequently Asked Questions & More

We welcome you to ask us a question! Before you ask your question, kindly review the existing FAQs below as you may find your answer there.

Note that questions can be responded to privately or publicly. If you wish to receive a private response, kindly state this in your question.  

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    Where is Lyons Creek East?

    20 days ago

    Lyons Creek is a small watercourse located in Welland, Ontario. It flows into the Welland River and eventually the Niagara River. The project area is the creek itself, east of the Welland Canal extending approximately 7 km to McKenney Road.


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    What is the problem at Lyons Creek East?

    20 days ago

    Chemicals called polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were discovered in a portion of Lyons Creek East in the 1990s. While PCBs were banned in the 1970s, they remain in the environment for a long time. PCBs can negatively impact the environment and human health depending on the concentration and type of exposure.

    Learn more: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/healthy-living/your-health/environment/pcbs.html

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    What are Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs)?

    20 days ago

    Polychlorinated Biphenyls or PCBs are human-made chemicals used in industrial applications (e.g., lubricant and in electrical equipment) from the 1930s to 1970s. The chemical was banned in 1977 due to its negative impact on the environment. PCBs do not break down easily and remain in the environment for a long time.

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    Can PCBs make people sick? Is there a risk to human health if I live near the site?

    20 days ago

    PCBs can negatively impact human health depending on the concentration and type of exposure.

    The contaminants are deep in the bottom of the creek. A human health risk assessment concluded the risks to humans was low and related to eating fish caught from Lyons Creek East. A community survey and field observations showed fish consumption was not occurring within the area of interest.

    As an additional way to reduce risks to human health, there are fish consumption advisories in place by the Province of Ontario that limit the number and type of fish that can be eaten based on set guidelines.

    Please refer to the Guide to Eating Ontario Fish for more information: https://www.ontario.ca/page/guide-eating-ontario-fish

    Learn more about the potential health effects: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/healthy-living/your-health/environment/pcbs.html#he

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    When was the PCB contamination in Lyons Creek East discovered?

    20 days ago

    The PCB contamination was discovered in 1990 following an accidental spill from a transformer in Lyons Creek West (on the other side of the Welland Canal).

    The spill triggered an investigation to determine the extent of contamination and led to the discovery of historic (deeper) contamination in both Lyons Creek West and East which most likely predated the construction of the Welland Canal By-Pass. 

    Lyons Creek West was remediated in 2007.

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    Is there still a source of PCBs going into the creek?

    20 days ago

    No, there are no ongoing sources of PCBs in Lyons Creek. The chemical was banned in the 1970s. Based on the type of PCB and its depth in the bottom of the creek, the source is deemed historic when PCBs were used broadly across Canada.

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    Does the contamination extend along the entire length of Lyons Creek?

    20 days ago

    No, the PCB contamination is limited to a specific area of Lyons Creek, east of the Welland Canal to McKenney Road. The area from Doans Ridge Road to McKenney Road is the least contaminated and currently showing signs of natural recovery.

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    Are the levels of PCBs the same throughout the contaminated sediment area?

    20 days ago

    The Lyons Creek East project area is divided into zones based on the level of PCBs determined by sediment core sampling. The highest level of PCBs in sediments are in Zones 1-4 and decrease further downstream into Zones 5-7 (see map).

    Monitoring shows that the highest concentrations of PCBs are in deeper layers of the creek bottom (depth of 25-50 cm). Cleaner sediments are closer to the surface.

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    Why haven’t the contaminated sediments in Lyons Creek East been removed?

    20 days ago

    Following numerous technical studies, a discussion paper was prepared with potential options to manage the contaminated sediments at Lyons Creek East.

    Four options with varying levels of remediation, impact, and costs were considered through public consultation. The selected option was monitored natural recovery with administrative controls to prevent disturbance of the sediments.

    This option was chosen instead of removal because leaving the sediments in place posed low to no risks to wildlife and human health, protected the sensitive ecological (wetland) features, and assumed recovery would occur with the natural burial of contaminated sediments over time. The site has been monitored since 2008.

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    Are there other contaminated sediment sites for the Canadian Niagara River Remedial Action Plan?

    20 days ago

    In 1995, a report provided scientific evidence that identified benthic community impairment in the Niagara River watershed due to contaminated sediments at a total of 14 potential sites. Additional technical studies were conducted to determine the severity of contamination and potential remediation required.

    The sites were prioritized into three categories based on the sediment conditions (map below).

    • Level 1 sites were those with previously known contamination requiring remediation.
    • Level 2 and 3 sites were remediated and/or reviewed and determined to have little to no risk to humans and wildlife; therefore, no further action is these sites.


    All Level 1 sites have been cleaned up, except Lyons Creek East which has been managed using a monitored natural recovery approach.

    Lyons Creek East is the last contaminated sediment site requiring remediation as part of the Niagara River Remedial Action Plan.

Page last updated: 08 May 2023, 10:15 AM