Cows. (contributed photo)

1.6M gallons of manure released onto Agassiz farm after tank failure

The Ministry of Environment will be monitoring the impact on the McCallum Ditch

A tank failure on an Agassiz farm saw around 1.6 million gallons of manure released into the surrounding farmland.

According to Patrick Stephens, engineering and environmental services coordinator at the District of Kent, a manure tank failed on an Agassiz farm on Sunday, Feb. 14. The incident was immediately reported to the district and the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy by the property owner.

The district said there was around 1.6 million gallons of manure lost from the tank. Exactly how and why the tank failed isn’t clear, and an investigation is underway.

Local farmers constructed a series of earth dams on the property to contain the manure and stop it from entering the McCallum Ditch, which is connected to the property by a small tributary, Stephens said. The farmers worked for 26 hours straight using tractors with liquid manure spreaders to move the manure on the fields.

The Ministry of Environment did note that some manure had entered the McCallum Ditch. The property owner has hired an environmental consultant to assist with assessment and mitigation strategies.

SEE ALSO: Salish Sucker to be protected by SARA

The McCallum Ditch is home to endangered Salish Suckers, as well as the endangered Oregon Spotted Frogs and the red-listed Northern Red-Legged Frogs, and is a spawning stream for Coho salmon. Manure in the McCallum Ditch could cause the area would become saturated with nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus. This saturation, called nutrient loading, can be toxic to aquatic species because it can reduce oxygen levels in the water.

Ministry and district staff visited the site over the weekend, and conducted an assessment of the McCallum Ditch about 500 metres downstream from farm at Cameron Road. Ministry staff were also on site today, collecting water samples from the McCallum Ditch and areas further downstream.

The water samples will be analyzed for contaminants, and will look at the impacts of nutrient loading on oxygen demands for the waterway.

Additional input is being gathered from other agencies and neighbouring First Nations for an impact assessment, according to the ministry.

Correction: an earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the tank was able to hold 6 million gallons of manure, based on information from the Ministry of Environment. One of the people who were involved in dealing with the spill indicated the tank only held 1.6 million gallons when full. The changes have been made in the article and we regret the error.



news@ahobserver.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Black Press file photo)
Child in critical condition after Harrison Mills incident, homicide investigators deployed

The child was transported to hospital but is not expected to survive

Churches, including Langley's Riverside Calvary Church, are challenging the regulations barring them from holding in-person worship services during COVID-19. (Langley Advance Times file)
Chilliwack's David Leger couldn't see Mt. Cheam for all the smog back in 1998, and that led him to eventually found Loop Energy, a pioneer in hydrogen fuel-cell technology. (Facebook photo)
Loop Energy: How a humble Chilliwack startup became a multi-million dollar fuel cell pioneer

This is part 1 of a 3-part series on the rise of Loop Energy, now being traded publically on the TSX

Hospital outbreaks included in Fraser Health update Feb. 28, 2021. (Black Press file)
Fraser Health declares COVID-19 outbreaks at Chilliwack General and Surrey Memorial

The medicine units are temporarily closed but ERs remain open, according to Fraser Health update

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19 vaccination set to start for B.C. seniors aged 80-plus

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

B.C. Court of Appeal in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Murder conviction upheld in case where Surrey mom was stabbed in front of her kids

Jury in 2017 found Tanpreet Kaur Athwal, aka Sonia Kaur Gill, guilty of first-degree murder in 2007 death of Amanpreet Bahia, 33

Det. Sgt. Jim Callender. (Hamilton Police Service screenshot)
B.C. man dead, woman seriously injured after shooting in Hamilton, Ont.

The man was in the process of moving to the greater Toronto area, police say

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Inez Louis, who is strategic operations planner with the health department in the Sto:lo Service Agency, talks about infection control in the latest YouTube video about COVID-19 created in partnership with the Chilliwack Division of Family Practice and the Chilliwack Economic Recovery Network. (YouTube)
VIDEO: Nurse Inez Louis explains how infection control is not social control

The difference is important for Indigenous people to hear in the context of Canada’s colonial past

A GoFundMe campaign for Riley Stevens and his family has raised more than $5,700 since launching last week. (Contributed photo)
White Rock mom of sick tot ‘totally blown away’ by donations, offers help

GoFundMe campaign to help family of Riley Stevens crests $5,700

Sewage plant in Lower Mainland, operated by Metro Vancouver. (Metro Vancouver screenshot)
‘Poop tracker’ launches as researchers test Lower Mainland sewage water for COVID-19

‘Studying the virus in wastewater allows researchers to look at an entire population…’

(Pxhere)
Compensation fund opens for B.C. students negatively affected by incorrect exam marks

Marks for 2019 provincial exams were incorrectly tabulated

Most Read