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Film of diesel fuel remains on Port Coquitlam creek days after spill detected

Ministry of Environment says spill is being cleaned up but on Wednesday, there were signs that diesel fuel had not yet dissipated from a creek near an eagle's nest

Diesel fuel from a spill at a rail yard in Port Coquitlam continues to pollute a creek near a city park.

Although absorbent booms placed at the site last Thursday (Feb. 10), have stopped the fuel from moving further up the creek toward Dominion Park, there is a film of oil and a distinct smell, indicating the fuel hasn't yet dissipated or been cleaned up.

The park is located in Fremont Village, and adjacent to a nature preserve, where two eagles are nesting.

Some residents in the area expressed concern to the Tri-City News about the spill but said they thought it would be gone by now, cleaned up by authorities.

However, judging by a visit on Wednesday (Feb. 16), it's clear the diesel fuel that migrated from a spill at the CP Rail yard has continued to pool at the site.

The City of Port Coquitlam says it's up to CP Rail to clean up the fuel.

Officials have told the Tri-City News that the Ministry of Environment is investigating the large diesel fuel spill that occurred in a ditch at the Port Coquitlam rail yard on Feb. 4.

The fuel appears to have migrated through storm drains to an outlet near Dominion Park.

Port Coquitlam is well aware of the situation.

"We understand that CP Rail have secured an environmental consultant to assess the spill and create a clean-up and mitigation plan," stated Joshua Frederick, director of engineering and public works in an email to the Tri-City News earlier this week.

"This post-spill assessment will help us to understand the full extent of the spill, including how far along the watercourse the fuel was able to migrate. The city is working with MoE (ministry of environment) staff to ensure CP Rail initiates an adequate and timely remediation of infrastructure and habitat."

However, it appears it is taking awhile for the fuel to completely dissipate from the creek or for CP Rail to address the matter.

Ministry of Environment officials said the spill occurred on Feb. 4 and was first detected in the creek on Feb. 7.

A visit to the site on Wednesday, Feb. 16 found that fuel was still present in the creek.

At least one mammal died from being covered in diesel fuel, and possibly ingesting it as well.

Members of the animal rescue group Critter Care were called to attend to a beaver that had been in the area near the CP Rail yard where the diesel spill occurred.

A spokesperson said volunteers worked around the clock to try and clean the young female, including pumping its stomach, but it eventually died.

The Tri-City News has reached out to the Ministry of Environment to see if CP Rail would be fined for the spill.

A spokesperson said the situation is being managed.

A statement from the Ministry of Environment today (Feb. 17) included the following:

  • The protection of ecosystems and human health is a top priority.
  • CP is working cooperatively with the ministry and the City to ensure impacts from the spill are remediated and returned to their pre-spill condition.   
  • Canadian Wildlife Service and provincial wildlife biologists has been engaged to ensure impacts to wildlife are being managed appropriately.