Efforts continue Monday to remove a partially submerged barge that sank in the Picton Bay late last week.
Early Friday morning, staff at Picton Terminals noticed an empty Mckeil Marine spud sectional barge was submerged in the Bay. There weren’t any contaminats onboard however a five gallon pail of oil sitting on top of the barge spilled and leaked approximately 30 litres. It was contained with floating environmental booms. It’s suspected ice on the Bay acted as sandpaper, wearing down weaker portions of the outside of the barge causing a hole. The incident did happen close to water intake pipes, but thankfully for County residents, there has been no real threat to the Picton water supply.
Ben Doorenkamp co-owner of Picton Terminals explained to Quinte News the Canadian Coast Guard and Ministry of Environment (who remain onsite investigating and monitoring the situation) were quick to contain what County mayor Robert Quaiff previously agreed was a the low risk spill. He said work continues to today to have the barge removed by Wednesday.
Over the weekend, social media was lit up with Facebook posts from the group Save Picton Bay in relation to ongoing environmental cleanup measures at the Picton Port and a cancelled rezoning application that was filed with the municipality in 2016. At that time, the Terminals now operating under a legal-non conforming use, had requested a portion of its property be reverted from a mixed use/quarry to a port. Doorenkamp said he cancelled the request stating the company wanted to focus on tackling a MOE clean up order first before moving on to a planned multi-million dollar expansion. In November 2016, the MOE ordered Picton Terminals to compliance dates throughout November and December surrounding the covering of storage piles of salt and its stormwater runoff; dust and spills from petroleum coke; plans and measures to prevent discharge and removal of contaminants and drainage.
As for the stormwater runoff issues that have been ongoing for decades, Doornekamp echoed previous statements to Quinte News that they are continuing to work with the MOE to construct a storm water management system.
Previously, MOE officials stated Picton Terminals submitted two work plans to address items included in that order and those work plans are being reviewed by the ministry. It was confirmed the company had secured an engineering consultant to undertake design modifications of the storm water system.
Our newsroom has made contact with the MOE officials.
We have also reached out to Mayor Robert Quaiff and Picton councillor Lenny Epstein who in a post on Facebook Sunday night said he plans to table a motion at Thursday’s Committee of the Whole meeting in relation to the Picton port.
More to come.