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Thursday, March 30, 2023

Saanich river hit by fuel spill thanks to ‘hole’ in resident’s tank

A pristine river in Saanich was hit by a recent fuel spill, prompting a swift response from the district.

Saanich’s Public Works division responded to a call at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, March 3 pertaining to a strong fuel smell in the area of Hyacinth Park.

Upon investigation, crews observed hydrocarbons in the Colquitz River, said a district statement.

Staff immediately installed protection booms to control the spill,” said the district. “Crews traced the spill back to a property on Snowdrop Rosf and found their above-ground tank had a hole in the bottom.”

A siphon dam, which allows stormwater to pass while trapping the hydrocarbons at the surface, was installed at the property line to control any further runoff.

The district said staff spoke to the homeowner, who had just filled the tank that morning. The owner contacted the oil company who removed the remaining fuel from the tank.

It’s estimated that 600 litres leaked from the tank, said the district.

The district has contacted the Provincial Emergency Program and continues to monitor the booms for clean-up.

The majority of the fuel was cleaned up on Friday night, but some residual hydrocarbons could be seen at control points on Saturday morning. Staff have left the booms in place over the weekend and are using pads to remove the remaining hydrocarbons.

Colquitz has been hit by numerous spills over the years, including two in one weekend in late April 2020.

Those prompted a warning from river advocate Dorothy Chambers.

“If you see it or smell it and it doesn’t belong in the river, report it,” Chambers said.

Do you have a story tip? Email: chris.campbell@blackpress.ca.

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