Burlington creek contamination turns out to be melting ice from arena

Burlington creek contamination turns out to be melting ice from arena

A suspected contamination that turned a downtown Burlington creek milky white has turned out to be coloured melting ice  from a nearby arena.

The spill caused alarm when someone reported it around 2:30 p.m. Thursday. City crews rushed all night to contain it, setting up booms and straw bales. At one point, they used an industrial-sized vacuum truck to suck up the substance.

In the end, lab testing showed it was dyed melting ice from the nearby Burlington Central Recreation Centre, says spokesperson Gary Wheeler. 

"Ice shavings … were leaking the red, blue and white colouring used to mark the ice in the arena," Wheeler told CBC News.

"The coloured melting ice drained into the storm sewer and eventually into Rambo Creek."

The city didn't know what the substance was when it responded, said Mark Adam, manager of road operations. 

"Unfortunately, some did make it to the lake," Adam said. "Not a lot, but a little bit did get down before we got the booms in."

The city also built a berm of sand around the arena ice.

Rambo Creek is a storm-water creek. That means any time someone dumps liquid down a catch basin, it will likely end up in the creek.

Ministry staff and the city are still on scene cleaning up.

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