Glenn Harris and Mary Anne Fillipone with CRD environmental services crouch near a well that monitors the centre of a former sewage lagoon at Millstream Meadows. The former dumpsite is nearly finished remediation.

Millstream Meadows coming up clean

The sounds of birds chirping and frogs croaking in a meadow nestled in Highlands is a far cry from the toxic dumpsite it once was.

The sounds of birds chirping and frogs croaking in a meadow nestled in Highlands is a far cry from the toxic dumpsite it once was.

Muddy craters filled with murky water have been replaced with a manicured field of gravel at Millstream Meadows, a former regional dump that once threatened to contaminate Highlands groundwater.

The site is on the homestretch of a long, expensive process of remediation. Of the 13-hectare area, two septage lagoons near Millstream Road were deemed the most unsafe. Lagoon 1 was excavated and filled with clean earth. A portion of Lagoon 2 was excavated and left open and fenced off, with bedrock still exposed.

In total 76,000 metric tonnes of contaminated soil was excavated and trucked away in the fall of 2008 in a $10 million project. The contaminated area was less than one hectare.

“The lagoons are safe in terms of that there is no evidence (of any contaminants) moving out,” said Mary Anne Fillipone, manager for the Capital Regional District’s environmental programs.

Golder and Associates is monitoring Millstream Meadows quarterly through 35 wells scattered throughout the property. One of the wells in the centre of Lagoon 1 reaches down to bedrock, and is monitored monthly.

“We do this to ensure the water quality is good and no contamination moves back into the area,” Fillipone said. “When we excavated we believe we got the bulk of the main source of contamination.”

There is no evidence that any contaminants remain or are migrating out of former septage lagoon areas, Fillipone said. After an estimated two to four more years of monitoring, the CRD and the provincal government will look at selling the property – 61 per cent of the profit will go to the CRD, the same proportion as under the provincial cleanup agreement.

“Eventually it will be a new piece of property for development,” said Glenn Harris, senior manager of environmental protection for the CRD. “It’s going to be zoned for light industrial and commercial.”

Before Millstream Meadows can be sold, the CRD will apply for a certificate of compliance from the B.C. Ministry of Environment to deem the site safe for use.

If the certificate of compliance is obtained, it may state that the area will require ongoing monitoring. If that is the case, Fillipone said the CRD may continue monitoring, or it might be done by the new owner.

Millstream Meadows was a regional dump for septage, sewage and solid waste from the 1940s until closing in 1984. After a severe winter, diesel was detected in monitoring wells at the edge of the property in April 2007, indicating contaminants were migrating out, potentially into groundwater used for residential consumption.

In November 2007, the CRD went as far as distributing bottled water to nearby Highlands residents, and fast-tracked the cleanup.

“We had monitored the lagoons for years and in 2007 we noticed some contaminants,” Fillipone said. “That triggered more excavation (where) we believed the worst of the contamination to be.”



Just Posted

Canadians smoke less according to community health survey

Obesity and heavy drinking rates remain steady

Garden suite applications on the rise, but not without a few hitches: staff report

Victoria city council to hear update on revised garden suite application process

Armoury event highlights Canada’s D-Day efforts in Normandy

Event runs Saturday 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Bay Street Armoury

Canada Day comes early with Oak Bay celebration

Fun continues with first free concert in the park Friday evening

Bed Races on Beacon teams make final preparations

CCM Construction ready to defend their title on July 7

VIDEO: Stop-motion artist recreates Kawhi Leonard’s famous buzzer-beater

It took Jared Jacobs about 40 hours to make the video, on top of the research

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of June 25

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

POLL: Do you think the penalty should be increased for tossing a burning cigarette from a vehicle?

With grasslands and forests around Vancouver Island and across B.C. reaching tinder… Continue reading

Four-hour tarmac delay violates charter rights of Canadians with a disability: lawsuit

Bob Brown says new rules reduce the distance he can travel by air without putting his health at risk

PHOTOS: North Island home gutted in fire deemed ‘suspicious’

No injuries reported; firefighters prevented blaze from spreading

Child killed after being hit in driveway on Vancouver Island

The driver of the vehicle remained at the crash scene and is fully cooperating

Eating sandwiches, putting on makeup behind the wheel could land you a fine

RCMP say if you cause an accident while eating you could be penalized

Cat badly hurt in animal trap was likely stuck for days, B.C. owner says

Blu, a three-year-old house cat, suffered severe damage to his hind leg after being stuck in trap for days

Vancouver Island woman assaulted after confronting thief

RCMP warn residents to call for police assistance

Most Read