Coquitlam company receives pollution reduction order and recommends fine

The facility, which collects waste from municipal, commercial, institutional and industrial sites, is located directly north of the fish-bearing Pitt River.

Article content

Pollution flowing into the Pitt River has led to a Coquitlam company receiving a pollution abatement order.

Ministry of Environment inspectors were at the work yard of Ground X Site Services Ltd. at 750 Kingsway Ave. in Port Coquitlam on December 7, 2023.

Article content

“I am satisfied, on reasonable grounds, that a substance is causing contamination on land occupied by Ground

Advertisement 2

Article content

The inspectors recommend that a fine be imposed on the company.

The facility, which collects waste from municipal, commercial, institutional and industrial sites, is located directly north of the fish-bearing Pitt River.

Officers observed that an environmental waste pond was full and visibly eroded. Stormwater effluent had accumulated in several areas of the site and was discovered to be discharged directly into a Kingsway Avenue ditch that empties into the Pitt River.

Samples were collected from three discharge areas and testing revealed chemical levels well above parameters set by British Columbia’s water quality guidelines.

Contaminants exceeding the guidelines include aluminum, arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, chromium, cobalt, copper, iron, lead, zinc, mercury, nickel, silver, vanadium, zinc, anthracene, benzo(a)anthracene, benzo(a)pyrene , fluoranthene, phenanthrene, pyrene and chloroform.

Samples taken from the area closest to the Pitt River showed aluminum levels 1,953 times higher than guidelines, copper levels were 94 times higher, and benzo(a)-pyrene levels were 124 times higher.

Article content

Advertisement 3

Article content

Ministry inspectors also observed a workshop, several cans, containers and barrels submerged in water on a gravel base, with an oil stain visible on the water surface. Many of the trash containers were also unlabeled.

“Ground X personnel were unable to confirm the contents of the various containers, drums and containers. However, it was observed that used oil, a hazardous waste, was stored in a manner that caused leaks,” the inspection reports state.

A sample of the liquid was taken for testing, but the ministry’s laboratory notified officials that the sample was too high in semivolatile hydrocarbons to complete all analyses.

The province has ordered Site X to immediately cease the discharge of contaminated substances at the site.

You will be required to complete a report that identifies specific locations where discharges occur, identify and obtain all potential contaminants of concern, and include accompanying laboratory analyzes by February 15, 2024.

The company must also submit an effluent sampling and management plan for provincial approval, and must implement ongoing inspections, sampling and record-keeping measures.

Advertisement 4

Article content

Failure to comply with the order can be punished under the Environmental Management Act with a fine of up to $300,000 and up to six months in prison. Additionally, administrative penalties of up to $40,000 may be imposed.

The Ministry issued a warning letter to Ground X on January 23, 2024 for failing to provide information requested by inspectors.

During the inspection, company staff said they take effluent and soil samples from three locations monthly and send them to a laboratory for analysis. Ministry staff requested test records from the company from July to December 2023, as well as other documentation.

Ground

Company staff later emailed the Ministry with sampling records from October 2023, as well as documentation from a previous oil spill cleanup, but did not provide everything that had been requested.

Patrick Penner is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter for the Tri-Cities Dispatch. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

Advertisement 5

Article content

Recommended by Editorial


Bookmark our website and support our journalism: Don’t miss the news you need to know – add VancouverSun.com and LaProvincia.com to your favorites and subscribe to our newsletters here.

You can also support our journalism by becoming a digital subscriber – for just $14 a month you can get unlimited access to The Vancouver Sun, The Province, National Post and 13 other Canadian news sites. Support us by subscribing today: The Vancouver Sun | The province.

Article content

Leave a Comment