B.C. threatens soil dump owner with suspension over water leak
South Island Aggregates' contaminated soil dump site in Shawnigan Lake, B.C. is shown in this undated file photo.
CTV Vancouver Island
Published Friday, November 20, 2015 12:46PM PST
The Ministry of Environment has sent a letter to the owner of a contaminated soil dump in Shawnigan Lake warning that it could suspend or reduce operations there following a contamination scare last week.
Cobble Hill Holdings, which owns the South Island Aggregates landfill, was given until 4:30 p.m. Friday to respond to the letter – in which the government asks the company to ensure surface water at the site isn’t leaking into surrounding areas.
“Specifically, concerns have been raised regarding the Permittee’s ability to ensure that all surface water (contact and non-contact water) is contained on the property and treated in accordance with the permit,” the letter reads.
It comes a week after Island Health issued a precautionary no-use water advisory for the south end of the lake due to a suspected overflow of water from the SIA dump.
Concerned residents reported that water was leaking into the lake, but government scientists determined over the weekend that there was no risk to public health and lifted the no-use advisory.
A massive storm that swept over the region on Tuesday caused a second instance of water overflow, but another inspection confirmed no contamination had occurred.
The potential leak enraged a group of Shawnigan residents who have been fighting against the soil dump for years over fears it would contaminate their drinking water.
Some even called on Environment Minister Mary Polak to halt all dumping at the site and resign over the incident.