Canada Creosote

Former Canada Creosote Site (Calgary)

For over 40 years until the mid-1960s, the Canada Creosote Plant operated on the south side of the Bow River in the City of Calgary. Wood treatment, using a mixture of chemicals occurred at the Plant. With time, these compounds migrated into and under the Bow River into the community of West Hillhurst. This has resulted in three general areas where work is completed:

  • Bow River
  • North Side of the Bow River (West Hillhurst)
  • South Side of the Bow River (Former Canada Creosote Plant site)

Information has been divided based on these three general areas.


Bow River

In conjunction with the work that was occurring within the residential neighbourhood of West Hillhurst; river monitoring was being conducted. The Bow River ecosystem was monitored from 1989 to 2002 and then again from 2011 to 2013. In 2014, results were evaluated.

North Side of the Bow River (West Hillhurst Community/North Bow)

The Government of Alberta has taken the lead, with cooperation from Alberta Health, Alberta Health Services and the City of Calgary, in monitoring and assessing the potential health and environmental risks in the community of West Hillhurst and in the Bow River. Since the compounds that make up creosote can exist in various states they can interact with soil, air and water (groundwater and river water) and monitoring examines these media.

In 2010/2011, a field assessment program was conducted in West Hillhurst to update historical site information and the human health risk assessment. Letters regarding the proposed program were delivered to area residents prior to conducting the work.

A Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment (historical file review) was completed in 2011 to evaluate potential areas of environmental concern in the West Hillhurst community.

Between 2011 – 2013 a series of field programs were conducted. Groundwater and soil vapour monitoring probes were installed and sampled. A letter was send out to residents prior to work being conducted.

Elevated levels of some compounds were identified in one groundwater monitoring well (MW10-6) at the site. Results are detailed in the technical report.

To further assess and understand conditions near the groundwater monitoring well (MW10-6), additional work was completed in 2014/2015. Area residents were notified of the work prior to it commencing.

The program consisted of installing and sampling additional groundwater and soil vapour monitoring wells. To ensure nearby residents were not at risk, a residential air monitoring program was also conducted at select houses near MW10-06. A summary of the results can be found in the technical report.

On April 25, 2017, letters regarding ongoing environmental monitoring in the West Hillhurst community were delivered to residents.

South Side of the Bow River (Former Canada Creosote Plant Site)

As a result of historical activities, a large area of land has been contaminated on the South side of the Bow River. In the late 1980s, environmental monitoring determined that contaminants from the former Canada Creosote Plant site were migrating into the Bow River. The Government of Alberta examined various remediation and management options and in 1995, a containment wall and groundwater collection system was constructed to protect the Bow River.

Since 1997, the City of Calgary has been managing and operating the containment system. The Government of Alberta continues to work with the City of Calgary with respect to this site and its ongoing management.

Additional information is available on ESAR for the south side of the Bow River and the former Canada Creosote plant.

Some information is also available through The City of Calgary on their webpage at:

Frequently Asked Questions

Contact Information

For health-related questions:

  • Call HealthLink Alberta at 1 866 408-5465
  • Or call the local Medical Officer of Health at 403 943-1280

For public inquiries related to the City of Calgary, please call 3-1-1.


Page Information

Updated: Jan 26, 2018