Photo: Kelly Hayes - Castanet
Photo: Kelly Hayes - Castanet

Spill did not breach Rotary Marsh

by - Story: 45164

A paint spill in Kelowna's north end Tuesday afternoon did not breach the environmentally sensitive Rotary Marsh.

Citizen Services General Manager, John Vos, confirms the spill did take place but says the watershed was not affected.

"It was in the creek channel. The wetland itself is only fed from the lagoons, which is water that is pumped from Okanagan Lake and then circulates through. The wetlands per se was not even impacted. It was only in the channel," says Vos.

According to an eye witness, paint began flowing from a pipe that drains into the channel Tuesday afternoon.

The witness says the drain flows from beneath the Waterscapes Development and into the creek.

Vos was able to confirm the spill did originate at the development.

"It appears a painter in the complex was washing out brushes in a five gallon pail. He put it down a drain inside the building and it ended up in the sump of the garage which then got pumped into the creek."

Fortunately says Vos, it was latex paint and not an oil based product which could been much worse.

Vos says normally the City and the fire department would take the lead in a situation like this. He says that was not the case in this instance.

"The developer's contractor engaged a company called HAZCO, which is a spill response organization. Unfortunately the only involvement we had was receiving a phone call from HAZCO saying they had been asked to respond to the spill. They had been notifying all of the provincial agencies about it and they would be cleaning it up."

He says all the reports he has seen would indicate the spill has been cleaned up and there is nothing to worry about.

"Certainly based on visual observation there is nothing to indicate that. It will be up to the Ministry of Environment to determine whether they believe something further needs to be done."

Water samples have been taken, although Vos says those results are not yet available.

Officials with Marcon, the contractor on the Waterscapes project, did not return calls for comment on this incident.

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