Sewage no longer leaking into Capilano River, but investigation just beginning: province
Putrid, raw sewage has stopped leaking into the North Shore's Capilano River, though officials say multiple investigations into the spill and any resulting damage from the week-long leak are only getting started.
B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said Monday the government is assessing the leak to understand how it started, how the river can be cleaned and how a similar spill might be prevented.
"It's something government takes very, very seriously," Farnworth said at a news conference.
"[An analysis is to] make sure the cleanup is done and quickly and efficiently as possible, that there's as little damage as possible to fish stocks ... and also to see if there's additional steps to make sure that something like this doesn't happen again."
The Squamish Nation said the leak stopped by mid-morning Monday, roughly a week after it began sending an unknown amount of waste into the waterway. The nation, whose territories encompass much of North Vancouver, has warned the public to stay away from the river, typically a popular fishing and swimming spot, as officials try to grasp whether any long-term damage was done.
The province first heard of the leak on March 6, though the spill was only made public after the nation was informed on Friday.
"You walk by the area ... the stench is pretty strong," Squamish Nation elected Coun. Wilson Williams said in an interview Monday.
"It's very concerning."
The sewage was coming from a storm drain outfall pipe from a private property near Fullerton Avenue in West Vancouver, according to the province — though its exact source hasn't been confirmed, and it's unclear how much waste got into the water.
Vancouver-based Wynford Property Management, which represents the property owner, went to the site Sunday with a provincial environment response officer and representatives from the Squamish Nation and District of North Vancouver.
The province said Wynford took action to "mitigate" the spill. Any residual waste left Monday was being "diverted for disposal," the nation said.
Water samples from around the outfall pipe were delivered to a local lab for analysis, with samples from the nearby Squamish Nation reserve to be analyzed on Monday.
Metro Vancouver, which manages the region's water supply, deferred questions from CBC News to the ministry, as did the District of North Vancouver.
The Capilano River flows through the Coast Mountains in Metro Vancouver and, at a high point, feeds the Capilano Reservoir at the Cleveland Dam — one of three reservoirs that provide drinking water to the Metro Vancouver region.
Fullerton Avenue is around two kilometres from where the river empties into the Burrard Inlet near Ambleside Park and the Lions Gate Bridge.
The river also contains a large salmon hatchery run by Fisheries and Oceans Canada. A representative of the hatchery said in an email that the leak had been reported to the department's fish and fish habitat protection program.
LISTEN | Squamish Nation Elected Coun. Wilson Williams speaks about the spill: