An apparent fuel oil spill that contaminated Fraser Creek near the Langley airport on Saturday afternoon, May 30, may be connected to an upstream leak in Murrayville near Langley Memorial Hospital the day before, said Langley Fire Department deputy chief Bruce Ferguson.
“We had a leak [there near LMH] on Friday,” Ferguson told the Langley Advance Times.
Ferguson said the exact source of the contamination could not be determined when fire crews and cleanup specialists were called to the area.
A company under contract with the Township is handling the cleanup, Ferguson said.
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Stanley Brown, who lives in the area, reported the contamination Saturday afternoon.
Brown said he noticed “a very strong” odor while he was out for a walk around 2 p.m. Saturday in the Derek Doubleday Arboretum at the southwest corner of Langley Airport, near the new hangers.
“I smelt it and then I looked and I saw the oil,” Brown related.
“The creek was 20 to 25 per cent covered and you could see it roiling up in the current.”
When he crossed the Nicomekl River at Fraser Hwy., Brown again encountered a strong smell of fuel and saw “lots of oil visible in the river.”
“I could smell it from 50 feet away,” Brown recalled.
He said the amount of oil appeared to be spreading Sunday, despite the deployment of containment booms.
A Township of Langley Watercourse Classification map ranks Fraser Creek and the Nicomekl River as Class “A” salmon bearing streams, meaning they are inhabited year round or have the potential for a “year round fish presence upon reasonable means of access enhancements.”
There have been warnings about the impact of urbanization, pollution, and spills on the salmon population, with the Langley-based Nicomekl Enhancement Society warning salmon populations in the Pacific Coast are under threat, with their numbers dwindling.