Saturday, June 02, 2012

Home Fuel Spill Reminder

About a year ago there was a fuel spill from a home heating tank locally. Heck, there were about a dozen such spills over the last year, reported in the Greater Victoria area and on the Island! But this one made a big impression as the fuel leaked into the little Colquitz River, a salmon spawning stream that runs through several neighbourhoods and into Portage Inlet.
We wrote about that spill at that time. But much of what we said then bears repeating: these fuel spills are avoidable, and they damage our neighbourhoods and our home waters where we paddle most often.
I'm putting out a call to readers of Kayak Yak. If your home is heated with fuel of any kind, go check that the fuel tank and pipes aren't leaking. I mean it. Go to the tank in your yard or the gas pipe that enters your apartment building. And while you're at it, check if the driveway near your home has any oily stains spreading into a storm drain. I'm just sayin'.
It would be great if readers could write a comment in reply to this post, telling that you checked that your heating fuel is not leaking onto the ground or into the water. We know that we can't stop all the fuel spills in the world, but we can each look after our own yards.
We have mentioned salmon spawning in Colquitz Creek, but there's also many other fish and living things in that creek and Swan Creek year-round. When kayaking there, we've seen raccoons and many kinds of birds. The Saanich News wrote an article about these animals and also included information of interest to homeowners with fuel tanks. Turns out that they've got advice on fuel tank maintenance and a pdf to download from the municipality. Knowledge is power. We can learn things to help us keep our neighbourhoods cleaner!
Here's a terrific pamphlet of advice from the government of the Northwest Territories about looking after your home's fuel tank and what to do if there's a fuel spill:
Also, here's a link to the newspage of a contractor's website -- not as an ad, but as a comment on the reasons for and costs of removing old fuel tanks from homes and yards.
And if you see any fuel spilled on the ground or water in BC, in town or out in the boonies, call the 24-Hour Spill Line toll-free at 1-800-663-3456. We've called them after finding an oil slick in Tod Inlet.

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