Possible soil dump overflow sparks advisory at Shawnigan Lake
South Island Aggregates' contaminated soil dump site in Shawnigan Lake, B.C. is shown in this undated file photo.
A suspected water leak from a controversial soil dump has health officials asking residents not to use the water from part of Shawnigan Lake.
Vancouver Island Health Authority issued the no-use advisory early Friday evening, saying a potential overflow of water from the South Island Aggregates soil dump leaked into an area of the lake south of Butler Avenue and Verlon Road.
According to VIHA, the Ministry of Environment is investigating and water tests will be conducted.
But a spokesman for South Island Aggregates said the site had already been inspected by the ministry Friday in response to a citizen report of the water overflow.
"After a thorough investigation by the Ministries representatives, it was found that all protective systems of contact and non-contact surface water runoff, were found to be performing as designed during today’s unusually intense precipitation," SIA co-owner Mike Kelly said in a statement.
VIHA confirmed that no licensed drinking water systems use water from that part of the lake.
Residents are advised to always properly treat water taken from surface sources.
The suspected leak comes amid long-standing controversy over the dump site, which sits on a slope above the lake.
A group of concerned residents wanted to shut down the site because they feared it would leak contaminates into the community’s drinking water.
"This is extremely worrying for the people of Shawnigan Lake," Sonia Furstenau, area director for Shawnigan Lake, said in an email statement. "The provincial government has ignored the overwhelming evidence that this site is not suitable for a contaminated landfill, and now the people of Shawnigan are facing a risk to their drinking water and their health."
Furstenau said she's calling on Environment Minister Mary Polak to act immediately and halt all dumping at the site.
SIA has obtained the necessary permits to go ahead with the dumping of five-million tonnes of contaminated soil on the site.