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Second spill dumps more raw sewage into the Eramosa River (3 Photos)

Failed bypass pumps to blame for spills Sunday morning and Wednesday morning along the Royal Recreation Trail just east of Lyon Park

The Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks said there was a second sewage spill Wednesday morning that sent more raw sewage into the Eramosa River just east of Lyon Park.

Ministry spokesperson Gary Wheeler said failed bypass pumps were to blame for both spills at a construction site just east of Lyon Park: the initial sewage spill Sunday morning and a second one Wednesday morning.

"This morning, on February 20, the ministry was notified that two of the three pumps had failed allowing raw sewage to once again spill to land. The construction silt fence in the area was working temporarily as a berm to hold back the sewage, however it was confirmed that some raw sewage did reach the Eramosa River before the pump was repaired," Wheeler said in an email.

City crews also dug a trench to try to contain the sewage flow until the pumps could be repaired. The spill was stopped by approximately 9 a.m., Wheeler said.

On Sunday morning a wastewater main under construction overflowed sewage into the area and onto the surface ice of the river. It was reported by a man walking his dog along the trail.

The ministry checked the river downstream Sunday afternoon and evening and no odour or dead fish were found.

The ministry said that drinking water will not be impacted by the spill and have closed water intakes as a precaution for users downstream of the location. It has also requested the city to present a report on how the spill occurred and how such a spill will be prevented in the future.

The city has been removing contaminated soil as part of the cleanup.

“The ministry takes all spills to the natural environment very seriously. Ministry staff respond to active incidents as soon as possible to assess the nature and extent of any potential environmental impacts that may occur as a result of a spill,” Wheeler said.

The ministry will continue to oversee the cleanup process.

The city was contacted for comment but stated they are not able to share any further information about the spill due to the ongoing investigation by the ministry.

There has been ongoing construction in the area since last fall for the replacement of the York trunk sanitary sewer between Boult Avenue and Victoria Street.

The construction area is closed to the public.