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Over 1,000 fish dead following spill at Abbotsford's Stoney Creek

More than 1,200 fish saved – Stoney Creek Trail area closed, water treatment system set up in park
Public access to the Stoney Creek Trail area in Abbotsford has been restricted after a firefighting foam spill filled the creek with foam.

More than 1,000 dead fish were removed from Abbotsford's Stoney Creek over a three-day period on the weekend as a fish salvage was conducted by Semá:th First Nation, Stó:lō Guardians, Lower Fraser Fisheries Alliance and environmental consultants GHD.

Close to 1,200 fish were collected and moved to fresh water.

The City of Abbotsford activated an Emergency Operations Centre on Friday (July 5) to deal with a devastating spill that occurred at Stoney Creek on Wednesday (July 3) evening.



Firefighting foam from a disconnected hose led to the spill, as the substance entered a storm drain and then the waterway leading to a large amount of foam appearing in the creek. Abbotsford Fire Rescue Services equipment was involved in the spill.

The substance that spilled has been identified as Phos-Chek, a commonly utilized class A/B firefighting foam. Phos-Chek has raised concerns in the past that it can cause harm to fish and other aquatic life. Some believe that it can also cause damage to plant and soil.

In the days that followed, the City continued actively working with the Ministry of Environment and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, as well as local First Nations, and Quantum Murray Environmental to minimize the damage as much as possible.

This work included installing special fencing to restrict access to the area from fish and other waterborne species and reroute fresh water. Fish and other water species will be monitored to further minimize any impact.  

A water treatment system has been set up at the park where water quality will be continuously monitored and treated. It will operate 24 hours a day and will take over the water testing and the vacuum and flush trucks removing remaining residue. To date, more than 211,000 gallons of water has been treated. Fish, sediment, water and surrounding vegetation are also being tested to ensure containment of any contaminants.

The City is also asking residents to stay away from the area while the clean-up crews are working and the water treatment facility operates and to keep pets out of the area.

They added that anyone believing they have symptoms related to an exposure to a chemical or toxin in the environment should seek medical attention by contacting their medical professional or local hospital. 

Stoney Creek Trail is an off-leash park located just off of Bateman Road in east Abbotsford.

A similar incident occurred in April 2021 when the the Sage Strata Complex on Blauson Boulevard hired a company that used laundry detergent to remove moss from the complex's townhouse units. That led to foam filling up the nearby Clayburn Creek. The company was given an $8,900 penalty for using detergent due to the risk it created on the surrounding environment.

Ongoing updates on the situation can be found here.

Ben Lypka

About the Author: Ben Lypka

I joined the Abbotsford News in 2015.
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