By David F. Rooney
Someone intentionally dumped a poisonous mix of 300 to 400 litres of used cooking oil and industrial or motor oil in the Big Eddy sometime on the night of Thursday, May 1, says Mike Thomas, the City’s director of Engineering and Development Services.
“We estimate that there are 300-to-400 litres of motor oil and restaurant in the ditch,” he said, adding that while anything under 50 litres might conceivably be an accidental spill or release, there was no chance that 300 litres was an accidental release.
Thomas said City employees Ed Wozniak and Darren Komonoski reacted quickly once they saw the mess in the ditch on both sides of the Nixon Road intersection with Begbie Road by the Wright Machine Shop.
“The City was on it right away,” said nearby resident Roma Threatful.
She said another local resident, Melinda Boruch, called the City about the oil after she noticed its evil smell while gong down the road.
The City deployed some oil-containment booms and oil-absorbent pads in the ditches and alerted the Ministry of the Environment, which dispatched a contractor from Lynx Creek Industrial & Hydrovac Ltd. to clean up the mess.
There in lies part of the problem, as everyone who lives in Revelstoke knows, we no longer have a local Ministry of the Environment Conservation Officer. Victoria refused to replace Adam Christie when he retired and the nearest COs are now in Vernon and Invermere. Guess who is supposed to receive and handle complaints about drive-by polluters? The Conservation Officer Service via the Report a Poacher and Polluter Line at http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/cos/rapp/form.htm.
Our local municipal workers did really well in handling this but the City is not equipped or authorized to enforce illegal polluting and dumping.
An incident like this underlines the fact that Revelstoke has environmental enforcement needs that are way beyond its expertise. We need a Conservation Officer based in Revelstoke.
You can reach the Conservation Officer Service’s Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) Line, toll-free, at 1-877-952-7277 (RAPP) or you can click here to report violators online.
Cleaning up this kind of poisonous mess costs us aIl thousands of dollars. If you think you know something about this incident please contact the CO Service via the RAPP line. Whoever did this should be made to pay.
Here are photos of the mess in the Big Eddy: