Goldstream cleanup continues

Fuel is no longer detected in the water but there is still fuel trapped in fractured bedrock underneath the Trans-Canada Highway.

Nearly a year and a half after 42,700 litres of fuel flowed into Goldstream River after a Columbia Fuels truck crash, conditions are improving in the local environment.

The April 16, 2011 crash killed thousands of juvenile chum and coho that had only recently been released into the river. Driver James Allan Charles Smith pleaded guilty to two charges related to the crash.

Ministry of Environment manager of the environmental emergency program Graham Knox said cleanup efforts from the spill continue, but generally conditions in the overall area are positive.

“Things are looking pretty good,” said Knox. “No more exceedances that we’ve seen at all for quite some time in the water.”

Fuel is no longer detected in the water but there is still fuel trapped in fractured bedrock underneath the Trans-Canada Highway where the road heads north towards Finlayson Arm Road.

“That (continues) to be worked on to reduce those contaminant levels,” Knox said. “There’s no evidence that that’s getting into the river and if it is, none of the monitoring has shown exceedences of the aquatic water quality numbers.”

A soil vapour extraction system will continue to be deployed in the area into 2013, Knox said, until the vapour level under the roadway decreases to a certain level.

Columbia Fuels’ parent company is footing the bill for the work and says it has spent about $2 million so far on restoration. It is responsible for paying until contaminant levels in the area reach a certain low, or pay for infrastructure that ensures contamination left over will not cause future environmental concerns.

Knox said given the difficulty of removing the fuel from under the road, it is likely Columbia Fuels will have to go with the second option.

The fuel company is also working with the province and stakeholders, such as local fisheries, on potential restoration projects to offset the damage the fuel cost. A Goldstream roundtable is being formed to decide on what projects to move forward with.

Knox said some likely projects are rebuilding an existing side channel into the stream that is blocked (through no fault of Columbia Fuels), providing money to the hatcheries to replace fish lost in the spill and carrying out a hydrological and fish habitat assessment.

Just Posted

No charges for three West Shore RCMP officers after woman’s jaw broken while in custody

After IIO investigation, B.C. Prosecution Service determined case did not meet its charge standard

All-female taxi service eyed for the West Shore

The goal is to help women feel comfortable

Elizabeth May arrested at Kinder Morgan protest

Randall Garrison, MP for Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke, speaks out against pipeline

New Galloping Goose overpass at McKenzie could open next week

Drivers reminded to watch the road in McKenzie construction zone

Capital Region regular gas prices highest since 2008

Greater Victoria prices roughly 10 cents above the B.C. average

Vancouver Island’s Best Videos of the Week

A look at some of the best video stories from the past week ending March 23, 2018

Canucks sing the Blues as they fall to St. Louis 4-1

Berglund nets two, including the game-winner, to lift St. Louis over Vancouver

Calving season brings hope for Cariboo ranchers

Still a lot of work ahead to recover from the wildfires

Canada’s Kaetlyn Osmond wins figure skating world title

The 22-year-old fwon the women’s singles crown with her Black Swan routine

Vancouver Island pooches celebrate National Puppy Day

Check out some of the submissions we received from around the region

MLA Report: Lowering the voting age to 16 in BC

By Andrew Weaver On March 13, I introduced for a third time… Continue reading

Alberta tells B.C. to stop opposing pipelines if it doesn’t like gas prices

John Horgan said he would like to see the federal government step in to deal with high gas prices.

Comox Valley hospital operating above patient capacity

The new healthcare facility averaged a 110 per cent patient volume between October and February

B.C. mother hit in truck rampage dies

Family confirms mother of four Kelly Sandoval dies almost two months after being hit.

Most Read