Reay Creek contamination is too high

Your article and editorial about Reay Creek (April 17) contains errors with respect to who knew what and when.

Your article and editorial about Reay Creek (April 17) contains errors with respect to who knew what and when.

Your writing purports that I had known about the Reay Creek contaminated sediments for many years — this is not true. The first time I knew that there may be considerable heavy metal contamination downstream of the airport property was in 2010. Peninsula Streams commissioned two college students to conduct a pond survey which included a sample from the sediment surface and the results indicated high cadmium concentrations. I was surprised but not shocked as I had been present during fish kills from cadmium releases from the airport in 2003 and 2004.

In the spring of 2013, Peninsula Streams petitioned the Town of Sidney to partner to remove the (depth of the) sediment in Reay Creek pond and create more rearing habitat for coho salmon fry. At that time we were told by Sidney to first go and determine the levels of contamination in the sediments. With no funding support from Sidney, we embarked on a study of all contaminants in a ‘core’ of pond sediments at a cost of $50,000.

As a result of the PNR article on the core sampling study in 2013, a CRD technician sent me an email with detailed sampling results in Reay Creek — I assumed water samples but in fact they were sediment samples taken at the mouth of Reay Creek and then later at upstream locations.

It wasn’t until January 2015 that I re-read the attachment and realized that CRD and the Town of Sidney were aware, since at least 1998, that contaminated sediments were throughout the creek.

Peninsula Streams is concerned that over the years we have organized several local student salmon releases in Reay Creek and had students work with the sediments to identify aquatic invertebrates. Had we known the level of contamination in the sediments, we would not have conducted these activities.

Peninsula Streams strongly recommends that Sidney not attempt to take a lead role in the contamination remediation of Reay Creek.

We believe that Sidney will quickly find that the cost of remediation is too high for Sidney taxpayers to accept, since the source of the contamination is clearly the airport property. Peninsula Streams recommends that the Victoria Airport Authority and Transport Canada take the lead role in testing the contamination and developing a remediation plan for the site, Sidney and North Saanich should work with them to ensure that their interests are met.

Based on the level of contamination our testing identified in the sediments of Reay Creek, Peninsula Streams believes that Sidney should be warning residents to reduce their exposure to Reay Creek sediments and that the sediments are not safe for children to ingest as was suggested in the PNR article.

Ian Bruce, Registered Professional Biologist, Executive Coordinator, Peninsula Streams Society

Just Posted

Transplant caregiver starts website for financial, mental health support

Beth Campbell-Duke started Transplant Rouges after her husband’s double lung transplant

Saanich swimmer has ribs removed, posts them on social media

Jill Yoneda makes light of rare surgery for ‘slipping rib syndrome’

Victoria ranked as one of B.C.’s worst cities to work in

High living costs and low average incomes drop Victoria from the top 10

Panthers set to close out home schedule before Christmas break

Following a 5-2 loss to Nanaimo, the club will take on Kerry Park Islanders this week

Cyclist without helmet thrown onto windshield in Victoria

Despite damage to bike, cyclist uninjured following accident

Lawyer for Chinese exec detained by Canada says it’s ‘inconceivable’ she would flee

Meng Wanzhou was detained at the request of the U.S. during a layover at the Vancouver airport

Federal government plans examination of coerced sterilization

The Liberals have been pressed for a rapid response to recent reports on the sterilizations

Huitema, Cornelius named 2018 Canadian Youth International Players of the Year

Huitema was captain of Canada’s fourth-place team at this year’s FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup

Canada not slowing emissions from oil and gas: environmental groups

New report released at the United Nations climate talks in Poland

Liberal Party moves Trudeau fundraiser from military base

The fundraiser is scheduled for Dec. 19, with tickets costing up to $400

Pipeline protesters arrested at B.C. university

Three protesters were arrested after TRU property allegedly vandalized with red paint

Goodale to ‘examine’ transfer of Rafferty to medium-security prison

Michael Rafferty was sentenced to life in prison in 2012 in the kidnapping, sexual assault and first-degree murder of Tori Stafford

‘Abhorrent’ condition of autistic B.C. boy shows flaws in care system: report

‘Charlie’ was underweight and ‘covered in feces’ when he was removed from his mom’s care

Minister appoints former CIRB chair to resolve Canada Post labour dispute

Postal workers engaged in weeks of rotating walkouts

Most Read