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Burlington Canal clean-up expected to last into the fall

Barges, excavators and divers have started cleaning the bottom of the Burlington Canal. The project started in mid-August.Mozelle Cole photo

Posted on September 5, 2023

Burlington Canal is in need of a clean up.

In mid-August, the Hamilton-Oshawa Port Authority (HOPA) started dredging the Lake Ontario side of the canal to remove approximately 25,000 cubic metres of sand from the approach channel.

The sand is being moved to nearby shallow waters, which will help replenish the neighbouring beaches.

“We’re required to maintain a seaway draft of 8.2 metres so the big ships can come into port,” HOPA vice president of corporate affairs Larissa Fenn says. “We check on a regular basis to ensure that is maintained, and to check when dredging needs to happen, that’s when we undertake a project like this.”

Dredging happens at the Burlington Canal every decade or so, the last time it was needed was 2010. Prior to that, it took place in 1999. Sand will make its way into the canal through the natural movement of the waves near the harbour.

To remove the sand, workers use two methods. The majority of the sand and sediment is being removed with large, barge-mounted excavators, while the remainder is handled by divers with siphons so underwater infrastructure is not damaged.

The clean-up barges will not be impacting port traffic, Fenn says.

“We’re working to ensure the dredge doesn’t get in the way of any ships as they enter the canal,” Fenn says. “Communications are ongoing so ships can come and go, so we don’t expect any impact.”

The clean-up is expected to last into the fall, and no specific completion date is known yet.


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