No health risk after possible Shawnigan Lake contamination: Island Health
South Island Aggregates' contaminated soil dump site in Shawnigan Lake, B.C. is shown in this undated file photo.
CTV Vancouver Island
Published Tuesday, November 17, 2015 4:42PM PST
Last Updated Friday, November 20, 2015 12:30PM PST
Tests confirm there is no risk to public health after a suspected leak of surface water from a contaminated soil dump into Shawnigan Lake, the Ministry of Environment says.
Island Health issued the no-use advisory as a precaution Friday, saying an overflow of water from South Island Aggregates’ soil dump had potentially leaked into the south end of the lake.
Residents were asked not to use or draw water for residential or commercial use from that part of the lake during the advisory.
“This incident may not have put people at risk, but does highlight the importance of protecting both public and private drinking water sources,” Island Health spokesman Dr. Paul Hasselback said in an media release. “For people who draw lake water for private residence drinking purposes, like some residents on Shawnigan Lake, it is important that they have proper treatment processes in place.”
A massive storm that swept over the South Island Tuesday caused a second incident of water overflow at the site, but another inspection confirmed no contamination, Island Health said.
The Ministry of Environment is performing additional tests to help prevent any future incidents like this one, Island Health said.
The possible overflow enraged local residents who had been fighting against the soil dump for years over fears it would contaminate their drinking water.
Area Director Sonia Furstenau called on Environment Minister Mary Polak to halt all dumping at the site, while others have called for the minister’s resignation over her perceived mishandling of the situation.
Residents with questions are encouraged to contact the Environmental Health Office in Duncan at 250-737-2010 or by email at HPES.Duncan@viha.ca.