Questions raised about proposed contaminated soil landfill

A decision from FVRD is expected by vote in February, following a meeting in December with much opposition from public

  • Jan. 7, 2016 3:00 p.m.

A map indicating the area (top left) where the proposed landfill site could be located.

By Tyler Olsen

Black Press

The Fraser Valley Regional District board is expected to vote in February on whether to give the go-ahead to a proposed landfill for contaminated soil in the Chehalis River Valley.

Statlu Resources has proposed to extract gravel from a site 10 kilometres up the Chehalis Forest Service Road and back-fill it with remediated soil sourced from contaminated sites like gas stations, car repair shops and dry cleaners.

Around 80 people attended a public meeting in December, with most voicing opposition to the proposal, which would be located about half-a-kilometre from the Chehalis River.

Statlu’s proposal calls for between 350 to 1,000 tonnes of soil to be dumped at the site each work day. In a technical assessment commissioned by the company and delivered prior to the meeting, a consulting firm reported that the soil could contain “residual petroleum hydrocarbons, chlorinated hydrocarbons, and heavy metals.”

But Statlu president Earl Wilder said the material is “not a hazardous waste,” and presently dumped elsewhere in the Lower Mainland with less care than his plan envisions.

Statlu’s technical assessment envisions a double-bottom lined fill site, with a wastewater purification system to treat effluent.

“Due to the distance between the effluent discharge point and the Chehalis River and that the minimum daily flow in Chehalis River is more than 1,000,000 times of the effluent flow, we consider it to be a low potential that the discharge of treated water will have a significant impact on the Chehalis River,” the technical report states.

Wilder said the chances of a spill were one-in-four-hundred million, more ten times less likely than a lottery win. Having trucks transporting materially both to and from the site aims to improve the economic feasibility of the site. He said the project would create jobs and other economic benefits for the region.

Downstream, though, there is concern about the proposal. A local resident expressed concern that problems at any soil landfill up the valley would impact the river and the drinking water of those down river.

“I can see the creek from my house and it feeds the water supply for the whole subdivision down here,” he said. “It’s something of a concern to everybody down here.”

In its November report, FVRD staff also expressed some concern with the plan, which follows several others from Statlu, including a now-abandoned proposal that would have seen automobile residue disposed of at the site.

Planner David Bennett wrote that the remoteness of the site would reduce conflicts with residents, although truck traffic would still be seen. But he also wrote “the Chehalis River Valley is viewed as a wilderness area that supports resource extraction, tourism, recreation and ecological functions. A landfill is not consistent with this view.”

Area C director Alec Niemi said he hasn’t taken a position on the proposal to allow others to make up their minds independently. He noted, though, that the company has “a pretty good sales job on their hands” to convince local residents to back the project.

“They’re coming into a watershed, they’re coming into a rainforest.”

Wilder, though, said opposition to the plan is based on misinformation.

“The fuss is way out of control because of a lack of knowledge,” he said. “It’s the best site in the whole Lower Mainland that’s ever been discovered.”

The FVRD’s electoral area services committee will receive a report next week. Subsequent reports are expected in February prior to a vote on the necessary rezoning for the project.

 

Just Posted

After 30 years, Agassiz’s Miss Marge set to retire from Variety Play

From 1989 to today, Miss Marge has taken generations of kids through the district play program

RCMP believe Missing Hope teenager was headed to Chilliwack

Keely Reeze Loewen, 18, last in contact with a family member on June 13

Summer service by bus from Chilliwack to Cultus Lake starting soon

Seasonal change will see bus service from Vedder Road to Cultus elementary until Labour Day

Chilliwack trustees divided on Trans Mountain pipeline route near two schools

School district will pen letter to NEB to ask for re-routing away from schools to be considered

Agassiz RCMP finally able to get outdoor picnic table

Funds from Harrison and Kent will allow the detachment to purchase the outdoor seating area

VIDEO: Reading splashes into Agassiz’s Ferny Coombe Pool

The Agassiz Library held its annual Reading in the Pool event Friday, June 14

B.C. teen killed by falling tree near Victoria

Second youth also injured in freak incident during field trip at Camp Barnard near Sooke

Elias Pettersson wins Calder Trophy as NHL’s top rookie

Vancouver forward first Canuck to win award since Pavel Bure in 1992

FVRD chair calls B.C. incineration plan for Philippines waste ‘disturbing’

Metro Vancouver ‘uniquely capable’ of safely disposing of waste coming back to Canada, say officials

VIDEO: Acknowledging skeptics, finance minister vows to build Trans Mountain project

Bill Morneau said he recognizes ‘huge amount of anxiety’ in Calgary over future of oil and gas sector

Shovels could be in the ground on Trans Mountain by September, CEO says

Ian Anderson points to weeks likely required for NEB to reinstate 2016 regulatory record

Scorpion gives birth after hitching ride in B.C. woman’s luggage

A Vancouver woman inadvertently brought the animal home from a trip to Cuba

RCMP allows officers to grow beards

Members can now wear beards and goatees, as long as they’re neatly groomed

Girl, 10, poisoned by carbon monoxide at B.C. campsite could soon return home

Lucille Beaurain died and daughter Micaela Walton, 10, was rushed to B.C. Children’s Hospital on May 18

Most Read