BC HYDRO CONTRAVENES PESTICIDE USE PERMIT
In recent weeks residents will have seen various advisory notices from the Village of Belcarra, BC Hydro, Simon Fraser Health Region, and the BC Ministry of Water, Land & Air Protection regarding BC Hydro applying wood preservatives to utility poles within 30 metres of wells in Belcarra contrary to the requirements of their Pesticide Use Permit. This is an unfortunate faux pas on the part of BC Hydro for which the company has had to undertake a significant effort to remediate and prevent from happening in the future.
The story actually begins over two years ago when BC Hydro made application to the Province for a Pesticide Use Permit to undertake a utility pole treatment program within the Lower Mainland. The application was referred to Simon Fraser Health for comment, and SFH advised the Village of Belcarra of the application. The application was discussed by Council at its meeting on February 21st, 2000, which resulted in a resolution requiring:
Forward to January 2002 when some residents notice contractors working around utility poles and begin to ask questions. Numerous discussions and telephone calls with different agencies and individuals culminated in a delegation of BC Hydro personnel appearing before Council on March 25th, 2002, to speak about the utility pole treatment program. After two hours of discussion and many questions, the following resolution was adopted:
The BC Hydro delegation again appeared before Council on April 8th, 2002, to provide a progress report on the remediation efforts. The delegation presented a letter that included a 15-point action plan noting that the first 10 items had been completed. Test results were presented by BC Hydro’s Environmental Coordinator for water samples taken from 12 wells throughout the community, and those initial results did not identify issues of concern. However, additional analytical work was necessary before making a final determination. The delegation also advised Council that BC Hydro had retained the services of two independent third parties to provide expert technical advice on water sampling and analysis, pesticide toxicity, soil and ground water migration; namely, Dr. Dennis Konasewich (Hemmera Envirochem) and Dr. John Ruddick (UBC Department of Wood Science).
The remaining five action items currently being addressed by BC Hydro are as follows:
The base-mapping of all domestic wells within the municipality is a very important aspect of protecting the community water supply in the future. Council encourages all residents to assist and cooperate when asked to identify the location of their well. If a property owner has not yet provided the location of their well for the mapping project, please contact the Village Office at (604) 937-4100.
On a positive note, several useful outcomes will have resulted from these events:
Council will advise residents by a mail-drop notice of the BC Hydro public information meeting, to be held in June, at which questions can be asked regarding any aspect of the foregoing.
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Village of Belcarra
4084 Bedwell Bay Road
Tel: (604) 937-4100
Fax: (604) 939-5034
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