A contractor demolishing the vacant former Beverly Tire Building at University Plaza broke a water main that flooded part of the plaza parking lot, impacting some businesses and Ancaster Creek.
Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks spokesperson Gary Wheeler said the ministry was informed of a private water main struck by an excavator on Tuesday, Aug. 16, and an environmental officer attended the site two days later to assess impacts.
“Ancaster Creek became (cloudy) due to sediment in the water that was discharged from the construction site,” Wheeler said. “The City of Hamilton reported that cleanup measures were taken (Thursday, Aug. 18), including vacuuming out the city’s catch basins and sewer, as well as cleanup of the excavation site.”
It’s not clear what material and chemicals may have been in the runoff, or how long the broken water main leaked water over the construction site and parking lot into the creek. No information was available by deadline whether any fish or other organisms died as a result.
Maison Fritz staff said the salon had no running water from around 2:30 pm Tuesday, Aug. 16 until the following evening.
The business’ staff contacted the City of Hamilton and RioCan Tuesday afternoon, but neither knew about the water main break at the time.
“We lost a full day and a half of clients that needed services that required water,” a staff member stated in an email.
They said the city and RioCan staff responded, and the city tested the water flowing off the construction site, while RioCan representatives provided drinking water.
City of Hamilton spokesperson Emily Trotta said the municipality was notified late Aug. 16 that a drinking water line was struck by the demolition crew at University Plaza, causing water to flow onto the road and into the adjacent creek.
Trotta said the city and property manager worked co-operatively to ensure the water and on-site pumps were shut off, resources were deployed to support cleanup, and stakeholders — including the environment ministry — were informed.
Trotta did not provide results of the city’s water sample tests, or say if the city plans to penalize or fine the contractor.
University Plaza owner RioCan did not respond to requests for comment by deadline.
Rochon Building Construction director of construction Paul Natalini said there was, unfortunately, an existing water main below the former Beverly Tire’s foundation that was struck during demolition.
“All repairs have been successfully made to the water main and services restored to the plaza,” Natalini said Aug. 19.
The Toronto-based company was demolishing the vacant 347-square-metre structure in advance of the planned construction of a new 195-square-metre auto service station.
Rochon project manager Michael Manson said earlier this month Rochon would not be involved in the construction of the new building.
Valvoline Instant Oil Change is expected to operate a “Great Canadian Oil Change” in a new building at the location.
Valvoline spokesperson Michele Sparks said the facility was tentatively scheduled to begin construction before the end of August with a projected opening in late February.
The City of Hamilton was reviewing, but had not yet approved, a building permit application for the new structure as of Aug. 18.
No incidents at the demolition site were reported to Ontario’s Ministry of Labour.
STORY BEHIND THE STORY: We wanted to learn more about the impacts of a water main strike by demolition contractors at University Plaza.