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Work continues to clean up styrofoam from Cataraqui River

Crews work to clean debris from the shoreline using blowers, vacuums and skimmers. Photo via City of Kingston.

Residents near the Cataraqui River continue to notice unwanted debris from the Third Crossing construction site along the shores of the waterway. Nevertheless, work continues along the shores to clean up the styrofoam debris left by wildlife who damaged the turbidity curtains throughout the winter.

However, the City of Kingston’s Third Crossing Team said that, while the curtains are inspected and tended to regularly, the ice condition on the river hindered any maintenance on the curtains until late March.

Photos illustrating the progress made during clean up efforts. Photos taken in May 2021 and supplied by the City of Kingston.

They add that the project team responsible for the clean-up is continuously adjusting its approach in order to receive the best results with regards to cleaning up the small bits of styrofoam.

“The initial approach, which was focussed on raking and netting the styrofoam, has now been modified to utilizing blowers and vacuums in conjunction with skimming and netting to reclaim the styrofoam in affected areas,” the City’s Third Crossing Team said in an email to Kingstonist.

A detailed outline of the work being completed to clean up debris along the shoreline north of the Third Crossing construction site. Graphic via City of Kingston.

According to the Third Crossing Team, this process is much slower, but also much more meticulous and effective in recovering the styrofoam. They add that regular inspection of the water on both sides of the river will be occurring daily.

A detailed outline of the work being completed to clean up debris along the shoreline south of the Third Crossing construction site. Graphic via City of Kingston.

The City is now in a phased approach to the clean-up. The first phase included inspecting the water and turbidity curtains for damage assessment for any initial repairs to the turbidity curtains. The second phase saw crews continue maintenance work and repairs to the curtain to limit any new pieces of styrofoam coming loose. Now, in the third phase, crews are focused on recovering any debris by skimming the waterway with nets, while using blowers and vacuums on the shoreland, as well as with other equipment when necessary.

Before and after photos showing progress in the shoreline clean-up of loose styrofoam pieces at the Belle Park shoreline. Photos via the City of Kingston.

Over the past two weeks, the crews have been collecting debris from the Cattail Marsh and each side of the shorelines, including the north shore of Belle Island, according to the Third Crossing Team.

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