Contaminated creek in Sidney getting work done

Transport Canada engaged in preliminary review prior to cleaning up Reay Creek

Retired DFO ocean scientist Rob Macdonald, left, and Peninsula Streams executive director Ian Bruce show off the core samples taken from sediment in Reay Creek Pond in Sidney back in 2015. (Steven Heywood/News Staff file)

New work is taking place this month around Sidney’s Reay Creek Pond, a body of water classed by Transport Canada as an active contaminated site.

Reay Creek Residents group spokesperson Bill Collins sent an email recently, notifying people who live around the pond and along the creek, that Transport Canada has contracted a local consulting firm to “carry out topographic surveys” of the upper reaches of the creek. Collins said such work is an indication of scientific investigation and is part of the groundwork for remediation.

The residents’ group is part of the overall Reay Creek working group headed up by the Town of Sidney. It includes Transport Canada, the Victoria Airport Authority and District of North Saanich.

Contamination in the waterway has been known for years, but independent testing done in 2015 — and again by Transport Canada in 2016 — officially confirmed the presence of heavy metals in the pond and creek bed sediment. High levels of cadmium, zinc, lead and chromium have been found buried in the sediment. While the Town stated in 215 that there was no danger to the public, the municipality did put up signs in 2016, warning residents and park users to keep themselves, children and pets out of the soil along the creek.

The contamination is generally believed to have come from years of operations at the Victoria International Airport — or the Pat Bay Air Station, when it was built in the early 1940s. In recent years the Victoria Airport Authority, which took over operation of the airport from Transport Canada in 1997, has been spending its own money on projects to clean up the creeks on its property.

Transport Canada declined an interview with the Peninsula News Review, but in an emailed statement, said they are “undertaking environmental assessment and survey work to determine the extent of contamination in Reay Creek within the Victoria International Airport land, Town of Sidney and District of North Saanich.”

“The purpose of collecting the environmental and survey information is to identify the preliminary scope and estimated cost of remediation options.”

According to the federal government’s contaminated sites list, Transport Canada set aside $80,300 in 2016/17 for preliminary work. They also estimated around 4,000 cubic meters of contaminated soil might be in the area.

In it’s statement to the PNR, Transport Canada noted once the planning is done, they will work with the other stakeholders to develop a final remediation strategy. Any work after that could take place in 2018. Collins noted earlier this year that remediation could range from doing nothing, to monitoring water quality, to removing all contaminants and fixing the creek bed, or even eliminating the pond.

Peninsula’s Active Contaminated Sites

There are four active contaminated sites being looked at by the federal government, according to the online sites list.

In addition to Reay Creek, there are contaminated sites in Tseyhum Harbour, as well as an ‘East Dumpsite’ and ‘West Dumpsite’ both on Department of National Defense lands at the airport.

All of those sites are in some stage of review or remediation and all contain heavy metal contamination, petroleum hydrocarbons (PHCs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).

According to the list, the federal government is spending anywhere from $80,000 to $91,800 on these active sites in 2016/17.

The federal contaminated sites list shows there are in excess of 15 spots on the Saanich Peninsula whose files have either been investigated and closed, or are still open.

 

Reay Creek in Sidney. Town council is considering removing an upstream dam and the returning the watercourse to full stream status. It’s part of ongoing clean up and restoration discussions with Transport Canada and other partners. (Steven Heywood/News Staff file)

Just Posted

Tsunami warning had Peninsula crews on standby

The tsunami warning that got some Greater Victoria residents scrambling for high… Continue reading

Sirens don’t sing in tsunami warning for Esquimalt

Officials pleased with process, say sirens would have been activated had threat escalated.

Elizabeth May reaches out to Sidney through town hall

Marijuana cultivation in Central Saanich crops up during meeting

BC Boat Show sails back to Sidney

Port Sidney Marina hosting event May 3 to 6

Shaving minutes off commutes among the goals for Victoria bus lanes

Work on southbound Douglas Street lane between Tolmie and Hillside getting underway

Tsunami warnings 101: Canada

Here are some things to know about tsunami alerts in Canada and how they work

Butchart Gardens is hiring now and paying more

Wages start at $15, job fair Feb. 20

Cash still needed for Stelly’s Cross Path

MLA Olsen wants more specifics first

Castlegar homicide victim identified

The victim was 38-year-old Jordan Workman of Castlegar, B.C.

B.C. Liberal leadership candidates get one last prime-time pitch

Leadership campaign to be decided in Feb. 3 vote

How high is safe from a tsunami? Four metres above sea level

Be disaster ready with food, water and clothing for seven days

Victoria Film Festival set for triumphant return to the big screen

Two decades on, diverse film lineups keep movie-goers coming to the box office

Andrew Scheer on trade, Trump and Trudeau

Canada’s Conservative leader begins three-day visit to B.C.

Victoria’s most wanted for the week of Jan. 23

Crime Stoppers will pay a reward of up to $2,000 for information that leads to arrests or the seizure of property or drug

Most Read