A concrete staircase is about all that remains of an Adelaide Avenue home torn down Tuesday to make way for cleaning the property of oil mistakenly dumped on the site in February. Scott Laughlin and John Perry of B.C. Hazmat prepare site

Home leveled in heating oil fiasco

Saanich property torn up nine months after mistaken fuel delivery

A Saanich home that was the site of a large heating oil spill last February was torn down this week to allow for environmental repair of the property.

The spill, which occurred on Feb. 3, 2012, was the fourth incident in Saanich since November 2011 in which home heating oil leaked into the natural surroundings.

This spill, however, wasn’t the result of a faulty tank or fuel line. Rather, an employee of Island Pacific Oil pumped more than 300 litres of heating oil into the wrong house on Adelaide Avenue – one that didn’t burn oil for heat.

Dave Rogers, senior incident commander for B.C. Hazmat, said the property at 2853 Adelaide Ave. should have been torn down in February to get access to whatever oil may be left on the property. It took until now for Pacific Oil and the homeowner to come to an agreement on a remediation plan.

“The problem is the house is built on top of a huge, huge rock, and … the oil just flowed on top of this huge rock,” Rogers said. “We couldn’t get underneath the house (to access the oil) without destroying the integrity of the house.”

Crews from B.C. Hazmat were on site this week tearing down the home and clearing the lot. Next week they’ll be back at the site taking their cues from Jed Clampett, as Rogers puts it. “We’re looking for oil.”

Because B.C. Hazmat contained much of the spilled oil in February, Rogers says there are no greater environmental concerns on the property now than when the spill occurred.

Although the oil is contained, it’s still on the property, and it needs to be extracted and removed, as mandated by the Ministry of Environment.

Before the province will sign off on an oil spill site, it needs to be proven that the groundwater is as clean as drinking water, Rogers said. “That’s how clean we have to get it.”

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Environment said Island Pacific Oil immediately acknowledged responsibility for the spill and has been working with the homeowner since February.

Calls for comment to Island Pacific Oil and Federated Insurance, Island Pacific’s insurance company, were not returned by the News deadline.

The Adelaide Avenue property has two main pockets of contamination – at the front of the house and under the foundation in the back south side. B.C. Hazmat plans to dig out soil and have it tested for hydrocarbons until it finds only clean earth. Contaminated soil will be trucked off site.

Rogers anticipates work on the Adelaide Avenue property – from cleanup and teardown costs, to building a new home – will reach $750,000.

“This one was extreme. We’ve never had to tear (a house) down because of an oil spill before,” he said. “This was just an unfortunate mistake.”

Last winter and spring saw six known oil spills occur in Saanich. Two of those spills saw a combined 1,600-plus litres contaminate the Colquitz River.

Rogers says his company usually responds to one oil spill per month on Vancouver Island. Since January, B.C. Hazmat has responded to 36 spills south of Comox.

“The message that we’re trying to get out (to heating oil tank owners) is replace your tank every 15 years and replace your lines at the same time,” Rogers said. “Your tank can look great on the outside, but it rots from the inside out, so you can’t see it.”

kslavin@saanichnews.com

 

Just Posted

Metchosin construction site closed for police investigation

Closure believed to be linked to something found at DND site

West Shore RCMP sees spike in car crashes in recent months

ICBC campaign puts onus on drivers to fix bad habits

Car fanatics get set for Langford’s Show and Shine

Hundreds of cars to line downtown streets Sunday

Federal government announces over $115 million to Royal Canadian Navy

Defence Minister Harjit S. Sajjan was at CFB Esquimalt to announce missile system upgrades

New 84-unit seniors housing in Saanich constructed to Built Green standards

Mount Doug Manor an example of Built Green on a big scale

PHOTOS: B.C. city wakes up to darkness under wildfire smoke

The rest of the province also dealing with thick haze as smoky skies continue

Five things to do in Greater Victoria this weekend

Puppy yoga, horses, cars, water guns and more make up this weekend’s list of events to see

Castlegar bridge designed by architect of collapsed Italian bridge

Riccardo Morandi designed the Kinnaird Bridge, which is part of Highway 3.

RCMP nab prolific car thief after month-long, B.C.-wide search

A province-wide warrant was issued for Brian Robert Stephan in June for a litany of offences

First long-awaited Cyclone lands near Victoria airport

Military helicopter first of nine to come to Saanich Peninsula base

Court sides with developer in Jumbo ‘substantially started’ dispute

Resort developer successfully argues 2014 decision that halted the project was unfair

Canada’s tax system unfairly favours wealthy, poll of CRA auditors suggests

Four of every five respondents think loopholes and tax credits built into the system benefit the rich

Banff’s Sunshine ski resort upset with proposed guidelines from Parks Canada

The plan would allow for more visitors but wouldn’t let Sunshine build additional facilities

Conditions improve for battling northwest B.C. wildfires, minister says

‘Self-evacuated’ people fleeing smoke advised to go home

Most Read