Soil, groundwater contamination being investigated

  • Jun. 1, 2005 6:00 p.m.

BC Hydro is investigating soil and groundwater contamination on the south side of its Queen Charlotte office, across from the Gwaii Haanas office, where a diesel generator once stood.
The generator operated for about ten years in the 60s, said Louise Ouellet, BC Hydro’s senior environmental engineer. It has since been removed, and the site is now used as an office.
As part of a program to look at old diesel sites, BC Hydro tested the soil and groundwater at the site twice last year, once in the spring, once in the fall. Some diesel and oil was found, said Ms Ouellet, but not a lot. However, the contamination has spread as far as the middle of the street. BC Hydro plans further testing across the street to see if the contamination has migrated that far.
Most contamination has been found in the soil, and not very deep, said Ms Ouellet. There isn’t very much ground water in the area, she said. They couldn’t find any until the second round of testing in the fall.
It’s premature to say what BC Hydro will do about the problem. If after further testing, there’s evidence that the oil is migrating, then BC Hydro will do something. But the contamination is considered relatively minor at this point and they will probably leave it until the site is decommissioned, said Ms Ouellet.
BC Hydro is obligated to notify anyone that might be affected, so it sent letters to the Ministry of Transport which owns the road, and the management committee, said Ms Ouellet.
The management committee discussed the matter at its May 25 meeting, and decided to send a letter to people with private wells in the area, so they could be informed about the situation.