Clean-up has wrapped up after fluid spilled into a local wetland

On the hunt after pond spill

UPDATE: 2:40 p.m.

The majority of the cleanup at Chichester Wetland Park has been wrapped up, after a fluid spill at the wetland was first noticed Friday afternoon. Now the city is looking for the culprit.

"There's a small amount of mop-up that still needs to happen," said Ed Hoppe, water quality supervisor with the City of Kelowna.

"As soon as the spill happened we put out some absorbent material to prevent it from spreading and as soon as we had some daylight here we brought in a vac truck to basically skim off the surface contaminants as best as possible. It took about three and a half hours this morning to get that all cleaned up.”

Based on the experience of the clean-up crew, Hoppe said the spilled fluid appeared to be some type of hydraulic fluid. He estimated about 50 litres had made its way into the pond.

“Wetlands are remarkably resilient. There was some wildlife in the area, but it doesn't appear to have had any effect on them," Hoppe said. "We're going to send out a bit more of a crew tomorrow just for some of the residual stuff that's left along the shore.”

The City will also be sending out crews Sunday to try and find the source of the spill.

"We typically can trace back where that comes from and if it was intentional, obviously there are fines in our bylaws that will deal with this," Hoppe said 

ORIGINAL: 12:45 p.m.

Crews are working to clean up some type of spill at Chichester Wetland Park Saturday.

The province's Ministry of Environment was alerted to the spill Friday after an oil sheen was found on the pond, located between Highway 97 and Rutland Road North.

“A motor oil or similar product appears to have made its way into the storm water system and ended up in the pond,” said David Karn, spokesperson for the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy.

“The source of the spill has not been determined and will be difficult to locate.”

A resident of the area says a red fluid, possibly transmission fluid, appears to be draining out of a culvert and into the pond.

The City of Kelowna has hired Ram Environmental to clean up the mess. The company is currently working with booms and blowers to remove whatever has gotten into the pond.

Wetlands are quite rare in the mainly arid Okanagan, making up about 0.2 per cent of the region's land base. Chichester Park is home to painted turtles and many breeding and migratory birds.

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