Environment Canada

Environment Canada

February 21, 2008 09:50 ET

MP Watson Delivers: Government Takes Action to Help Clean up the Detroit River

WINDSOR, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 21, 2008) - - Jeff Watson, Member of Parliament for Essex, on behalf of the Honourable John Baird, Minister of the Environment, announced today that the Government of Canada is investing up to $600,000 to help clean up the Detroit River.

"The actions taken now to improve the state of the Detroit River will not only produce a cleaner environment, but will also stimulate regional development," said Mr. Watson. "We are working to ensure a healthy and sustainable future for the nearly 3 million citizens in Canada and the United States, who rely on the watersheds of Lake St. Clair, Lake Erie and the connecting Detroit River for drinking water. We are proud to be partners in important initiative."

The funding announced today will go towards the excavation and removal of PCB-contaminated sediment and bank soil. The project will begin in the fall of 2008 and be completed by 2009.

"Our Government is committed to clean water and clean air and to delivering results for Canadians," said Minister Baird. "Thanks to the hard work of MP Jeff Watson, our Government is taking real action to help clean up contaminated sediment in the Detroit River. This investment, as part of our comprehensive Action Plan for Clean Water, will make a real difference for Windsor and Essex County."

This major investment to clean up the Detroit River is part of the Government of Canada's Action Plan for Clean Water. Recently, the Government has also taken action to protect water quality, including tough new regulations against the dumping of raw sewage and improving raw sewage treatment in municipalities and first nation communities across Canada. These measures will help filter out substances like phosphates, which can lead to excessive blue-green algae production.

A backgrounder on the Detroit River clean-up project is available at: www.ec.gc.ca

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With an investment of up to $600,000, our Government is taking real action to clean up a severely contaminated site within the Great Lakes, the Detroit River. Through this commitment, the Government of Canada is addressing the principal sediment challenge facing the Detroit River Area of Concern, the remediation of contaminated sediment in Turkey Creek, which is a tributary of the Detroit River.

The Detroit River Area of Concern extends 51 kilometres and connects Lake St. Clair to Lake Erie. Its watershed, which covers over 2,000 square kilometers is home to more than three million people. The Detroit River Area of Concern is shared between Canada and the United States.

In 2001, Environment Canada detected elevated concentrations of PCBs (Polychlorinated Biphenyls) and heavy metals in sediment, bank soil and fish tissue in Turkey Creek at Walker Road. In 2007, the City of Windsor offered to manage the remediation project at Walker Road in conjunction with its stormwater management associated with a capital roadworks project. Additionally, Chrysler Canada Inc. in partnership with the Ontario Ministry of Environment, Environment Canada, the City of Windsor and Essex Region Conservation Authority agreed to excavate contaminated sediment and bank soil and cooperate with the City regarding stormwater management requirements.

Funding from the Government of Canada will assist with costs associated with excavation and removal of the PCB-contaminated sediment and bank soil. We expect to begin work in the fall of 2008 and be completed by 2009.

Areas of Concern are severely degraded geographic areas within the Great Lakes Basin. Restoring environmental quality is a priority due to their impact on local and basin-wide ecosystem health. In August 2007, the governments of Canada and Ontario announced the 2007 Canada-Ontario Agreement Respecting the Great Lakes Basin Ecosystem. The Agreement focuses on cleaning up the remaining 15 Canadian Areas of Concern in the Great Lakes. The Detroit River Area of Concern clean up is part of the Government of Canada's Action Plan for Clean Water and its goal of ensuring that all Canadians have access to clean, safe and healthy water.

Contact Information

  • Office of the Minister of the Environment
    Eric Richer
    Press Secretary
    Environment Canada
    Media Relations
    819-934-8008 or