Parmalat wastewater spill sends unknown quantity of effluent into Castor River

Excavated land behind the Parmalat factory this morning (May 3) after crews worked through the night after a May 2 spill. The view is from Liscumb Rd. Zandbergen photo, Nation Valley News

WINCHESTER — Crews worked into the night to contain a wastewater leak that was noticed yesterday morning at the Parmalat dairy and cheese plant here, spilling into the Castor River.

The leak emanated from a flexible pipe carrying effluent from the factory’s wastewater treatment facility, Parmalat’s Director of Government and Industry Relations And Communications said by email today.

“The leak was contained rapidly overnight and cleaned up with MOE supervision. The wastewater is not considered toxic to the environment,” said Anita Jarjour.

She said the involved pipe is not the temporary wastewater line that has been taking some of the plant’s effluent to Winchester’s municipal lagoon since 2017. That line snakes more than half a kilometre aboveground through a number of ditches and culverts, alongside public roads, on the way to the lagoon, under a time-limited agreement with North Dundas Township and the United Counties of SDG. The accommodation was reached as a result of Parmalat’s most recent expansion.  There have been “no issues” with the temporary line since its installation, Jarjour said in the email.

The amount of effluent that reached the river is unknown, said Ministry of Environment and Climate Change spokesperson Gary Wheeler, describing the liquid as “partially treated effluent” in his email to Nation Valley News. Parmalat “reported a waste water spill to the ministry’s Spills Action Centre” on Wednesday morning, May 2, Wheeler confirmed.

“Ministry staff attended the facility on Wednesday to gather more information and oversee clean-up measures. An unknown amount of partially treated wastewater had spilled into the nearby Castor River. A cleanup contractor was retained by the company to undertake cleanup measures. Ministry staff continue to be involved to gather more information and oversee the clean-up.”

Another view of the work achieved at the site, as seen from Liscumb Rd., looking south toward the Parmalat plant. Zandbergen photo, Nation Valley News

The video below shows contractors working after 9:30 p.m. last night to contain a spill of partially treated effluent from Winchester’s Parmalat plant. The footage concludes with an image showing the result of the earthmoving activity this morning.


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