For immediate release
ESQUIMALT, BC—The combined cleanup efforts of Township staff along with BC Ministry of Environment, Environment Climate Change Canada and spill response consultants have yielded positive results in the Gorge Creek area. Third-party assessments of water quality, wildlife health and surface contamination indicate that levels have reduced considerably such that several absorbent booms will be removed today.
High water volumes from rain and tides are still capable of flushing built-up contaminants from the storm system; consequently some booms will remain in critical locations as a precautionary measure. The area will be monitored through the weekend and continue as long as needed.
“Caring for our waterways is very important to the Township. I’m extremely proud of the constant presence our public works staff have had since this spill was discovered,” said Mayor Barbara Desjardins. “Coming off the heels of a snow storm and thrown into last week’s flooding, this year has already shown a high demand for our public works crews’ time and expertise.”
Absorbent booms and other tactics have been in place in several areas in and around the creek since the spill was reported in late January. Staff found the main source of the hydrocarbons after a 5-day investigation of 222 ha of land containing 19 km of pipe and have worked to prevent further oil from going into the ground and storm system.
Environment and Climate Change Canada supported the Township by providing technical and scientific advice, including expertise and recommendations for evaluating potential impacts to migratory birds. Township staff also remain in contact with other government agencies as the cleanup winds down.
Residents are reminded that storm drains empty into surrounding waterways year-round and to always be mindful of what goes in the system.