Esquimalt engineering and public works staff are working with the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change to determine the source of a spill in the Gorge Creek after a resident reported it on the provincial spill hotline on Saturday.
According to the Township of Esquimalt, the spill is some type of hydrocarbon although it’s not clear if it’s kerosene, heating fuel or some other type of gas.
Gorge Creek runs adjacent to Esquimalt Gorge Park and flows into the Gorge Waterway, with the mouth of the creek being an estuarine area and bird sanctuary. Controlling the spread and determining the source of the spill is a high priority for the Township due to the sensitive nature of the area, states a press release.
An investigation of the watershed outflow that empties from neighbouring residential areas into the creek, along with surrounding water infrastructure, did not show the source of the spill came through Esquimalt pipes.
Staff are also looking at ways to prevent additional contamination.
Visitors to the creek may notice several oil-absorbing booms in the water and near the shore. The tidal nature of the Gorge Waterway leads to fluctuating water levels on the banks as well as water mixing up and downstream — a pattern that doesn’t normally occur in a typical creek — which poses an extra layer of complexity when strategically placing booms to trap the oil, notes the Township.
Residents and businesses are reminded to avoid allowing chemicals and other materials into catch basins and drains, as there are several watershed outflows in Esquimalt that empty into the shorelines around the Township.
Residents are asked to respect the fencing around the creek to avoid further disruption. Anyone who has spotted a spill or sees the risk of one occurring is asked to report it immediately by calling 1-800-663-3456.