Transport Canada investigating Picton fuel leak

The Pitts Carillon barge has been lifted and removed from Picton Bay, but Transport Canada says it still has not decided if it will punish McKeil Marine, the company which chartered the barge.

Last week, the flat-topped barge became partially submerged in Picton Bay, leaking about 30 litres of what's believed to be a mix of hydraulic fluid and diesel fuel into the water. 

Prince Edward County, south of Belleville, Ont., remains in a state of emergency and under a boil water advisory because of the incident.

McKeil Marine re-floated the barge over the weekend. Transport Canada inspected the vessel and ordered the company to make some temporary repairs before its trip back to Toronto.

The federal department is now looking further into the "circumstances" of the incident. 

"The department will take appropriative action should any contraventions of the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 be found," Transport Canada said in a written statement. 

The statute, which lays out regulations for shipping and navigation, outlines punishments of fines or imprisonment for companies that pollute Canadian waters or fail to follow proper safety rules.

Ontario Environment Ministry assessing water quality

The Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change has been taking daily samples of water in the bay and in the Picton-Bloomfield water treatment plant, with the help of environmental response personnel with the Canadian Coast Guard. 

"Sample results from the water plant show the water is safe to drink," wrote spokesperson Gary Wheeler in a written statement. "Ministry staff have taken samples from various locations in the bay and there are trace amounts of hydrocarbons present."

Last week, the department issued an order under the Ontario Water Resources Act, calling on McKeil Marine to monitor and sample the water.

In an update to media, McKeil said Pinchin Environmental will continue to take daily water samples in various locations. The company also said it would sample privately owned shoreline wells, if residents notice signs of contamination and contact the Ontario ministry.