City of Chilliwack staffer Steve Clegg tests the slough water at the site near a greenhouse operation. (Jennifer Feinberg/ The Progress)

Chilliwack slough turns pink after greenhouse worker makes mistake with flower dye

Greenhouse owner says ‘no immediate danger’ from non-toxic substance released into waterway

It was a non-toxic flower dye from a local greenhouse that made a Chilliwack waterway turn pink last week.

Leo Quik, owner of Quik’s Farm, including the greenhouses on McSween Road, said it was a worker’s handling “mistake” that led to the incident.

Dark pink water could be seen dripping out of a large white pipe at the rear of the greenhouse site directly into the slough last week.

“The substance released into the waterway was completely non-toxic, and we confirmed that in discussions with the supplier of the product, which came from a reputable manufacturer,” said Quik.

READ MORE: Slough turns pink

The flower dye comes in concentrate form and is added to water. Considered an industry standard, the pigment product eventually breaks down in sunlight. It was being used last week to dye flowers destined for Easter celebrations.

“We have done all of our due diligence since being made aware of the situation,” Quik said, adding that they’ve hired an environmental consultant to guide them on possible remediation options. “We believe there is no immediate danger now to either the local wildlife or the environment.”

The whole situation came to light after the provincial Ministry of Environment was contacted last week by an alarmed resident, who noticed that a section of the Camp Slough had suddenly turned a curious shade of pink.

Ever since then Quik’s Farm officials have been working closely with all responding agencies, which have been testing and sampling the water, including MOE, as well as Environment Canada and City of Chilliwack. BC Conservation Officer Service also attended the site on Saturday.

The discoloured section of the Camp Slough, near the junction of Bell Road and McSween, has been contained, Quik said.

The environmental consultant, hired by the greenhouse owners, took immediate action at the site, closing off “egress culverts” leading out of the slough, and effectively containing the contamination.

Quik’s Farm, a Chilliwack farm company operating for 29 years, employs up to 70 people, and always puts an emphasis on environmental sustainability with best practices for growing and handling.

“We have set handling procedures, and unfortunately that is where the mistake was made,” Quik said, adding that a batch of the flower dye was sent down the “wrong” drain hole.

A deceased beaver found in the slough was headed for the Animal Health Centre in Abbotsford for possible necropsy, according to a spokesperson for the Ministry of Environment.

Quik said at this point they feel confident that the animal’s demise was not caused by the pink water, and that tests will confirm this.

MOE staff received photos of the discoloured slough from a concerned resident on April 4, and attended on April 5 to assess the situation and take samples.

City of Chilliwack staff conducted testing and sampling on April 5. The water appeared to have “significant contamination” and samples were sent to a lab for further testing.

Test results are expected sometime this week.

“This will help determine next steps,” the MOE spokesperson added.


@CHWKjourno
jfeinberg@theprogress.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

 

City of Chilliwack staffer Steve Clegg testing coloured water samples coming from a greenhouse property. (Jennifer Feinberg/ The Progress)

Just Posted

Umbrella decorating contest to raise funds, awareness for Ann Davis Transition Society in Chilliwack

People invited to decorate red umbrellas as part of Umbrellas for Change: The Ann Davis Art Contest

No injuries in midnight house fire near Sardis Park

Crews from five Chilliwack fire halls responded to get house fire under control

Chilliwack school district staff working on September classroom plans

More information about back-to-school plans to be unveiled by Aug. 26 says senior district staff

Chilliwack-Hope MP looking to celebrate pandemic community heroes

Eligible community heroes include individuals, businesses and not-for-profits

B.C. records 146 new COVID-19 cases through long weekend

More that 28 people tested positive for the virus each day since Friday

Canucks tame Minnesota Wild 4-3 to even NHL qualifying series

J.T. Miller leads Vancouver with goal and an assist

COVID-19 vaccine efforts provide hope but no silver bullet to stop pandemic: Tam

There are more than two dozen vaccines for COVID-19 in clinical trials around the world

Staff member tests positive for COVID-19 at Maple Ridge Seniors Village

Fraser Health is on site implementing outbreak protocols at the seniors care facility

Two people die in propane heated outdoor shower near Princeton

Couple was attending a long weekend gathering

Study shines light on what makes LGBTQ+ youth feel safe in a community

The study goes beyond looking at school or family supports

Alberta to require masks at schools this fall, but still no mandate in B.C.

B.C. students are also set to return to classrooms in September

Gangster Jarrod Bacon released from prison for third time

Parole board continues to express concerns about Bacon’s behaviour

B.C. to allow customers to buy cannabis online for in-store pickup at private shops

Age verification will still be required inside the store

Most Read