News Releases

ERCA Striving to Protect Drinking Water for Amherstburg Residents

Friday, Jun. 20, 2008

Amherstburg - The Essex Region Conservation Authority (ERCA) is working to remove an underground gasoline storage tank from its property at Heritage River Lookout. This property was donated to the Essex Region Conservation Foundation in 2004 by CN/CP Railways, and was subsequently transferred to ERCA, which has paid taxes on the property since that time. An Environmental Assessment of the historical railroad property had to be conducted, and an underground fuel tank was discovered during this process.

With an unknown contamination risk to soils and the adjacent Detroit River, the Conservation Authority sought and obtained funding from the Ministry of Environment's Early Actions Program, which was developed to assist landowners remove potential contaminants from the sources of our municipal drinking water. It was also discovered that an outstanding order from the Technical Safety and Standards Association to the owner of the tank regarding corrosion protection had been previously issued remained outstanding. . This fuel tank is located approximately 20 feet from the Detroit River and is within the one kilometre intake protection zone for the Amherstburg municipal drinking water system. The purpose of the Clean Water Act is to protect our drinking water sources and this includes sources such as the Detroit River.

"We want to investigate if the tank has already leaked and then remove the tank to eliminate the potential threat of gasoline leaking into a drinking water source," explains Ken Schmidt, ERCA General Manager. However, despite the title of the property being held and taxes paid, there is a current occupant on the property who will not permit access to the underground fuel tank.

In order to ensure that this potential threat to drinking water can be removed effectively, ERCA has proceeded with a request to the Superior Court of Ontario to allow them to proceed with this environmental cleanup and the future development of this property into a riverfront park to be enjoyed by all residents.