Parks Canada has launched a test in the sediment of the Rideau Canada, in order to ascertain whether this UNESCO World Heritage Site, needs to be added to the list of Canada’s most contaminated areas. This comes at the time when the Ontario government is also leading an investigation to determine whether the canal has caused game fish in the canal to become toxic, and therefore shouldn’t be eaten.
Parks Canada has already decided to stop repairs on the canal, after workers found toxins in the canal-bed, and further tests found that there were heavy metals like cadmium and lead, along with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons that have been found to cause cancer. Parks Canada has already called for more tests to determine the degree of contaminants that are in the Rideau Canal.
A lot riding on these tests
Parks Canada has stated that after the tests are completed, they will take all the steps required to add this site to the Federal Contaminated Sites Inventory. The Canal has been a popular tourist attraction, and has lots of people skating on it during winter, but for a century it featured heavy industrial activities on either side of its banks.
When work began on the Canal, special consideration was taken to ensure that the sediment isn’t disturbed, as it will cause the toxins to mix with the water faster. It is not unusual to find toxins in the canal bed, considering the history associated with it, but right now steps need to be taken to ensure that the toxic sediment doesn’t spread.
The government is also carefully following the tests, and Parks Canada has stated that right now there is minimal risk to human health. However, further tests need to be conducted as soon as possible, because a lot of people use the canal to fish for muskies, carp and other fish species.