City Reveals the Secret of the Ooze on the Speed

If you walked along the Speed River recently and noticed something weird about the water, you’re not alone. For the record, it was an oil spill, but fortunately it’s not the type of oil spill that typically makes headlines.

Here’s the press release from the City of Guelph, but long story short it was vegetable oil:

Guelph, Ont., December 14, 2015—The City of Guelph has identified vegetable oil, from a storm drain near the Eramosa Road bridge, as the cause of an oily sheen on the surface of the Speed River visible between the Heffernan Street footbridge and Neeve Street.

“An Environmental Protection Officer (EPO) arrived on site at approximately 10:15 a.m. to complete an inspection prompted by a report to the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change’s Spills Action Centre,” said Tim Robertson, the City’s operations manager of Wastewater Services. “The City has placed a boom across the river at the Neeve Street bridge to contain and absorb the oil on the water’s surface.”

The City’s cleanup activities are expected to conclude by the end of the day.

The City reminds residents and businesses to dispose of hazardous waste and garbage properly. Water from storm drains and sewers does not pass through the wastewater treatment plant. Storm water flows directly into Guelph’s rivers and streams untreated. For more information on proper waste disposal, visit

To report illegal pouring or dumping of any material into storm sewers, please call the City of Guelph, 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 519-837-5629.

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