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.

kwells@goldstreamgazette.com

Just Posted

Colwood Elementary gets new inclusive and accessible playground equipment

Parks and playgrounds on the West Shore have equipment for everyone

B.C. Guide dogs is looking for volunteer puppy raisers

Labrador retrievers need to learn obedience and socialization before heading to work

Greater Victoria businesses lose thousands of dollars in credit card scams

Affected businesses want to spread the word to make sure it doesn’t happen to anyone else

Four-sailing wait at BC Ferries Swartz Bay terminal

Full vessels create long waits on Friday afternoon

Tommy Chong says cannabis legalization makes him proud to be a Canadian

Legendary marijuana advocate and comedian celebrates cultural milestone at Kelowna event

WATCH: Twelve Angry Jurors puts a new spin on an old tale

Canadian College of Performing Arts opens season with reworked version of Reginald Rose teleplay

B.C. tickets win big in Lotto Max draw

Jackpot carried over; B.C. tickets share Max Millions prizes

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for Oct. 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Do you support amalgamation for communities in the Capital Region?

Residents in Victoria and Saanich will be voting on Oct. 20 on… Continue reading

‘Mom, I’m in trouble:’ Canadian faces 10 years for alleged graffiti

Brittney Schneider, another tourist caught spraying message on walls of Tha Pae Gate in Thailand

Feds consulting on national anti-racism strategy behind closed doors

Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez says people still face systemic racism in some communities

Enbridge aims for mid-November to finish B.C. pipeline repair after blast

A natural gas pipeline that ruptured and burned near Prince George caused an explosion and fireball

How to get government cheques if Canada Post staff go on strike

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers said members could go on rotating strikes as early as Monday

Most Read