Thursday, July 25, 2024

Nearly 600 litres of oil leaked into Saanich’s Colquitz River over the weekend


On Friday, March 3rd at around 4:30 p.m. the District of Saanich’s Public Works Division received a call that a “strong fuel smell” was present in Hyacinth Park.

When Public Works staff got to the area, they began testing and eventually found traces of hydrocarbons in the nearby Colquitz River. These staff members took action to contain and clean the fuel spill.

“Staff immediately installed protection booms to control the spill,” said Kelsie McLeod, Communication Manager for the District of Saanich. 

“Staff traced the spill back to a property on Snowdrop [Avenue] and found their aboveground tank had a hole in the bottom.” 

A siphon dam, which is used to trap hydrocarbons on the water’s surface while allowing water to pass beneath, was installed at the source at the homeowners property line to avoid any further leakage.

McLeod told Victoria Buzz that the homeowner, whose home’s heating fuel tank had caused the leak, had just had their oil tank filled on Thursday, March 2nd. The District of Saanich estimates that 600 litres leaked from the tank in total.

“The District contacted the Provincial Emergency Program and continue to monitor the booms for clean-up,” said McLeod. 

Most of the spill had been cleaned up overnight on Friday evening, but the District of Saanich says that some residual hydrocarbons from the heating fuel could still be seen at control points on Saturday morning.

Containing equipment remained at the site of the spill and in Colquitz River through the weekend until cleaning pads could be used to remove any remaining hydrocarbons that would be harmful to the river’s ecosystem. 

The District of Saanich recommends calling the Provincial Emergency Response (PEP) Program at 1-800-663-3456 if an oil spill is ever detected in or around your home and follow the District’s oil spill guidelines.

Curtis Blandy

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