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article imageHydro One Involved In Local Oil Spill Special

By Daniel Lick     Jul 8, 2010 in Environment
Dryden - Ontario's crown corporation, Hydro One, is involved in an ongoing dispute over a substantial oil spill and contamination in their fleet parking lot.
While undergoing routine testing, the soil beneath the Hydro One site in Dryden, Ontario, was found to be saturated in oil. A cleanup was initiated and the spill found to extend into the neighboring property of Schmidt Flowers Inc, a greenhouse operation.. For reasons not entirely clear, this crown corporation then decided to bring a lawsuit against its neighbor, blaming them for the contamination.
Between the two properties
Between the two properties
Faced with these charges, the greenhouse owner, Ken Schmidt, denied any possibility of a fuel spill at his facility. Ken did. however, point to a 1000 gallon oil tank which had previously been in place in the Hydro One yard. He says testing done by his own environmental consultant and Environment Canada have concluded that the oil originated from this tank. Hydro One has now removed the tank from its yard.
Hydro One fleet parking lot
Hydro One fleet parking lot
Ken says he talked to the previous supervisor at Hydro One and says the man knew about the oil spill. Apparently the Hydro One supervisor looked out his office window on the day it happened and saw a river of fuel oil flowing past his office.
Transformers stored in an outside yard
Transformers stored in an outside yard
In spite of the evidence to the contrary, Hydro One brought a lawsuit against Schmidt Flowers asking for $1,000,000 dollars in damages. It seems that they are willing to keep this case before the courts indefinitely, their team of lawyers paid from the bottomless public purse, while Ken must pay for his own lawyer.
After running up over $200,000 dollars in legal fees, Ken may be forced to give up the legal struggle with his powerful neighbor. He has lost his house in the dispute and can no longer get the commercial loans he needs, because of the contamination in the soil of his property. Asked if he intends to stay in business, he stated that the future is uncertain and he may have to sell his land at far less than its real value. The most likely buyer? Hydro One, which has, apparently, been trying to get this adjoining property for years.
In our interview, Ken confided to me that he has attempted several times to get his MP, Howard Hampton, to help with his cause, as well as other government agencies. They all ignored his pleas. When he went to the local media with his story, Hydro One intimidated and threatened reporters.
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