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Industrial spill near Lake Superior at Marathon, Ontario

A “minor” spill of industrial chemicals at Marathon, Ontario’s bankrupt pulp mill has confirmed the worst fears of municipal leaders in Canada. News of the spill was reported in the Thunder Bay Chronicle Journal on Tuesday.

“They assured us that this would not happen, but exactly what we have been concerned about did just happen,” Marathon Mayor Rick Dumas said Monday following a tour of the site. Dumas and city leaders were afraid the chemicals would leak and threaten local waterways if not removed before winter set in.

Marathon is located on Lake Superior, about 3-1/2 hours east of Thunder Bay above the popular Pukaskwa National Park.
About 3,000 gallons of diluted pulping liquors leaked on the weekend at the plant property as they were being transferred by pipe to a nearby spill basin.

The Ministry of Environment said the leak – a small portion of the 792,500 gallons in total to be transferred to the basin – has been cleaned up. Former mill co-owner Tembec, which is conducting the transfer of the chemicals, emphasized the spill was contained quickly and was not necessarily caused by cold weather.

An Environment Ministry spokesperson said the remaining chemicals will be transferred to the basin by truck rather than risk another leak.