Shawnigan soil dump warned after untreated water leaks from property
CTV Vancouver Island
Published Thursday, October 13, 2016 5:26PM PDT
Last Updated Thursday, October 13, 2016 6:42PM PDT
The province issued a pollution prevention order to the owner of a contaminated soil dump in Shawnigan Lake after heavy rains led to untreated water spilling into the surrounding environment.
Cobble Hill Holdings was ordered to dig additional ditches and install more tarps after an Oct. 8 storm caused between 3,000 and 6,000 gallons of untreated water to spill off the property, in violation of the site’s permit.
The Cobble Hill-owned operator of the site, South Island Resource Management, reported the spill on the day it occurred, according to the Ministry of Environment.
Health officials said the leak did not pose any risk to drinking water.
The province later confirmed Cobble Hill has since taken steps to comply with the pollution prevention order.
The ministry had warned that another intense storm expected to make landfall this Saturday, fuelled by remnants of a typhoon, would most likely cause untreated contact water to leak into surrounding areas once more if steps weren’t taken.
Protesters have fought to revoke the company’s permit over fears run-off will contaminate their drinking water, and say the latest leak is more proof the contentious dump isn’t safe for the community.
“We have said this from the very beginning. This is the wrong location for a contaminated landfill, and disaster mitigation in the face of ongoing catastrophes is never going to be acceptable,” said Sonia Furstenau, Area Director for Shawnigan Lake.
Ministry staff said they would monitor for compliance during the weekend storm.
The provincially sanctioned dump has been at the centre of controversy for years.
The fight between the dump’s owners and Shawnigan residents escalated to BC Supreme Court earlier this year, with a judge ruling that the dump was not a permitted land use for the site.
The victory for residents was short-lived, though, after a BC Court of Appeal judge stayed two injunctions imposed on Cobble Hill Holdings and SIRM, allowing truckers to resume deliveries of contaminated soil.