In May 2020, an accidental discharge dumped 1,400 litres of diesel fuel into a fish-bearing stream near the border of Langley City and Township by the airport. (file)

In May 2020, an accidental discharge dumped 1,400 litres of diesel fuel into a fish-bearing stream near the border of Langley City and Township by the airport. (file)

New Langley City watercourse protection regulations will hike fines, toughen enforcement

Measures would speed up testing for contaminants and increase most fines from $100 to $500

New regulations will speed up enforcement and increase fines for polluting Langley City waterways.

Langley City council unanimously voted to give preliminary approval to a new Watercourse Protection Bylaw and related regulations at a Monday, March 8, meeting.

READ ALSO: Langley farmers get help to keep creeks healthy

A report by manager of engineering services Hirod Gill explained the new bylaw will speed up testing of water run-off from construction sites.

Currently, samples are sent to a laboratory for analysis, which typically takes up to four days.

Under the new regulations a hand-held meter will be used, which would allow for “rectifying the poor water quality situations immediately,” Gill said.

As well, the new regulations will toughen inspection and monitoring requirements, such as testing to make sure discharged water is not too acidic or alkaline

Fines will go up, from $100 to $500 for a range of offences that include fouling or impeding drainage systems, dumping soil and discharge of prohibited material such as sediment, silt, pesticides, fertilizers and waste.

New offences have been added, including obstructing or interfering with an inspection.

READ ALSO: Oil spill suspected in Langley City creek

Councillor Paul Albrecht, vice-chair of the City environmental task group, wondered whether the higher fines would be enough of a deterrent, calling the amounts “somewhat small.”

“Five-hundred dollars, for some of these developer, is just the cost of doing business,” Albrecht remarked.

“It could use a few more teeth.”

Gill said the amounts were “in line” with other municipalities.

The bylaw is expected to come back to council for final approval later this month.

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