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West Vancouver mystery spill solved

A mystery substance that spilled out of a storm drain on to Ambleside Beach Jan.
West Van mystery spill

A mystery substance that spilled out of a storm drain on to Ambleside Beach Jan. 24 was a mixture primarily made up of water, vegetable oil and iron salt that was being used to clean up pollution further up the hill, according to information provided to the District of West Vancouver.

Municipal crews were first alerted around 2:30 in the afternoon of Jan. 24 that a yellow liquid substance coming out of a storm drain and flowing towards the beach at Ambleside. A vacuum truck was used to suck the substance out of the storm drain and Western Marine Response placed a boom at the beach to contain any liquid that escaped.

A subsequent report showed the substance was a mixture being used by Keystone Environmental as part of a pilot study into bio-remediation of a dry-cleaning solvent plume in groundwater in the vicinity of 550 – 16th Street, according to information provided by the municipality.

Keystone had been injecting the substance between five and 11 metres below the surface of the ground in an attempt to trigger a reaction that would essentially clean up the harmful components of the dissolved dry-cleaning contaminants.

When Keystone was alerted to the spill from the storm drain, directly south of the site where the test had been conducted, the company shut the study down and worked to clean up the spill, according to the municipality.

A total of 7,400 litres of ocean water combined with the solution that were recovered were sent to a hazardous waste facility in Richmond.

The substance – similar to soybean oil – was released during a time considered least harmful to fish and other marine life, a report on the incident noted, adding “Serious harm to fish or fish habitat was not observed during the assessment.”