The Regional District of East Kootenay is searching for any information in regards to a large amount of oil dumped illegally at the Tie Lake Transfer Station.
The RDEK discovered the oil spill yesterday morning, November 15, and immediately started the clean-up process. An excavator and a dump truck over-excavated the ground, and transported the oil-soaked soil to Terrapure for remediation and brought back some fill in its place. The amount of soil removed totals roughly ten cubic metres. This clean-up process finished the following morning, November 16.
Staff found a five-gallon oil pail, which they believe was the source of the spill. These five gallons of oil spread throughout the area due to the water on the surface of the ground, and created a 400 square foot oil slick.
Individuals responsible could be fined $2000. Ministry of Environment could escalate these charges if they deem it appropriate.
The District is often faced with many cases of oil being left at these transfer stations. There is a maintenance employee of the RDEK that checks and cleans the sites daily, and takes the oil to where it can be disposed of properly.
The RDEK found this matter frustrating, as there are other places to properly dispose of oil, nearby. The B.C. Used Oil Association have set up places to take their oil. Although these centres are in urban areas, and inconvenient for some urban-situated residents, the RDEK urges locals to take their oil there.
They admit that it is hard to monitor the Tie Lake Transfer Station.
“It’s pretty hard to police the unmanned sites that we have out there, especially in the South Country,” said RDEK Solid Waste Superintendent Jim Penson.
There are three transfer stations in the Central Sub region and Columbia Valley sub region of the RDEK. These include the Tie Lake Transfer Station, Wasa Transfer Station and Canal Flats Transfer Station. None of these are marshalled.
Also in these regions are 19 other unmarshalled stations, with bins for garbage disposal.
There are three transfer stations in the Elk Valley; one each in Fernie, Sparwood and Elkford. All of these are manned.
“What certainly would assist us is if we started manning these sites, putting fences and gates up… so that they were not open to the public 24/7,” said Penson.
The RDEK is the only regional district in the province to still have unmanned disposal sites. Most have moved away from this so that they can better control this issue.
“Certainly we’re undergoing a solid-waste management review as we speak,” Penson said, adding that this may be a talking point at the next RDEK meeting.
Anyone with information pertaining to the recent oil spill is asked to please contact RDEK Solid Waste Superintendent Jim Penson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-888-478-7335.
To locate a public recycling centre near you, visit Bcusedoil.com.