Gorge waterway oil spill cleanup underway

An oil spill into the Gorge on Friday has Esquimalt public works crews busy with cleanup.

Cleanup of an oil spill in the Gorge Waterway is under control, said Jeff Miller, director of engineering and public works for the Township of Esquimalt.

The 1,000-litre spill came from a home in the trailer park off Admirals Road last Friday morning.

Esquimalt’s public works department set up two absorbent booms along with absorbent tiles to control the outflow of the material.

“We coordinated with B.C. Hazmat, who was doing cleanup for the homeowner, which then went down and put some further booming down at the outfall just to help control the flow of material and to assist in cleanup,” said Miller.

The cleanup process was still underway as of Monday afternoon.

“I would anticipate we’ll probably leave the booms there for another week or so just to catch any materials that might still sneak into the storm system,” said Miller.

At that point, if no more oil appears to be coming down, he said the booms would be removed.

The cost of cleanup is still unknown, said Miller.

“It varies from spill to spill. It depends on how long the booms are out there, how often we have to check them, the flow and the weather conditions as well.”

Last weekend’s rain would have forced any materials left in the catch basin into the Gorge area where the public works department has containment.

“That would have cleaned the system out and allowed us to get that material out,” said Miller.

As far as oil spills go, Miller said this one was fairly average, and doesn’t expect there to be significantly negative impacts.

“But it doesn’t take much oil or gasoline to make an appearance on water,” he said.

This is at least the third oil spill into the Gorge in the last year.