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Fuel spill affects Patricia Bay, Tseycum First Nation

Environment ministry staff this week are monitoring a diesel fuel spill near the Tseycum First Nation that might affect wildlife in Patricia Bay.

About 500 litres of fuel spilled from a backup generator at Epicure Selections, at 10555 West Saanich Rd., likely on Jan. 22 between 3 and 7 a.m., when it provided emergency power to the building because of a breakdown in one of the parts. The spill was reported on Jan. 24, shortly before 6 p.m.

The spill and subsequent clean up and reporting are the responsibility of Finning Canada, the maker of the backup generator, said Erin Acton, corporate communications manager at Epicure.

“They came forward immediately,” she said of Finning.

Finning contracted Hemmera, an environmental consulting firm, and emergency response services by Quantum Murray.

“We’re taking responsibility and working to clean up the site,” said Jeff Howard, corporate communications manager for Finning. “We’re investigating the cause. The first priority is clean up.”

The ministry of environment is part of a team monitoring the leakage and setting up booms to contain the spill.

“Ministry staff continue to discuss the spill and response actions with the Victorian Epicure and liaise with other agencies and stakeholders, but are not going to be on-scene today. Staff will be conducting further on-site follow-up this week,” said Emily Laing, an environment ministry spokesperson. “Emergency response staff’s initial priorities were to ensure that the spill had been stopped and any gross contamination was being appropriately addressed by Victorian Epicure. An environmental emergency response officer attended the site last week to conduct an assessment of the spill and the actions undertaken by Victorian Epicure to address the spill. Staff also met with Department of Fisheries and Oceans on site and have provided incident information to Tseycum First Nation.”

“We’re concerned about the environment, the beach,” said Kristen Bill, band administrator for the Tseycum First Nation. “We’ve been working on it for 15, 20 years and we’d like to have a good working relationship with our neighbours.”

She said Tseycum has been working closely with Finning to remediate the affected land and water.

“Staff have also advised both federal enforcement staff and the Conservation Officer Service of the incident and concerns relating to the reporting of the spill in order for enforcement related issues to be appropriately investigated,” Laing said.

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