An oil slick that appeared in the water along Kitsuksis Dike on Saturday appears to have come from a storm drain on Adelaide Street. However, no one knows who is responsible for dumping oil into the drain.
Jake Leyenaar of the Alberni Valley Enhancement Association said he and a friend noticed the slick last weekend. “I said that it looks like there’s a big slick in the boat basin,” he said.
Further investigation by the News revealed an oily residue that ran parallel to the walkway at Victoria Quay, through the edge of the boat basin at Clutesi Haven Marina and up Kitsuksis Dike to the Gertrude Street Bridge.
Leyenaar said he’d be making inquiries with Fisheries and Oceans Canada about the matter.
The slick was located next to Clutesi Haven Marina which is managed by the Port Alberni Port Authority.
Clutesi Haven Marina staff were alerted to the issue on Saturday and immediately looked into it, manager Mike Carter said.
“We checked boats, vehicles and equipment at the marina and boat basin and didn’t find anything that would have caused it on our end,” Carter said.
The tide was extremely low that day so staff walked onto the mud flats underneath the bridge behind the Legion.
“A lot of storm drains lead to there and we saw that it may have been coming from one of them,” Carter said.
Marina staff have seen oil slicks appear several times in the five years Carter has been there, he said. “We’ve reported this to the city before. You can trace where but it’s nearly impossible to trace who is responsible.”
The incident was reported to the Port Alberni Fire Department which in turn alerted city works, city engineer Guy Cicon said.
City works crews traced the incident to a catch basin on Adelaide Street between Johnston Road and Burke Street and used a vacuum truck to clean it out.
“They found two five-gallon buckets with oil left in them near the basin,” Cicon said. “Fortunately most of the oil was caught in the sump at the bottom of the drain but some of it must have leaked through.”
Cicon said he didn’t know what type of oil was dumped or how much exactly.
The basin is located behind NAPA Auto Parts on Johnston Road. A manager wasn’t available to speak to the News before deadline.
Cicon said he suspects people who attempted to drop used oil off at the business are possibly responsible.
“I think people get the impression that they can just drop oil off there without knowing that it’s not a recycling facility,” he said.
“People just don’t know where they can drop off their used oil at.”
The city dealt with an alleged chemical spill before, Cicon said.
People reported smelling fuel in the water at Ship Creek but by the time city staff got there the substance had washed away and couldn’t be traced, he said.
City works manager Brian Mosely said he’d reported the matter to the Ministry of Environment.
*Where to drop your used oil off in Alberni:
◆ CANADIAN TIRE 3550 Johnston Rd.
◆ HEATHERINGTON INDUSTRIES
4715 Roger St.
◆ ACE AUOTMOTIVE
4691 Dundalk Rd.
◆ ALBERNI CHRYSLER
42611 Port Alberni Hwy.
◆ ALBERNI DISTRICT CO-OP
4885 Beaver Creek Road.
◆ AV LANDFILL
47080 McCoy Lake Rd.
◆ GENERAL MOTORS
3800 Johnston Rd.