Today, after 3 years of neglect by Christy Clark’s government, residents of Spallumcheen, the Hullcar Valley and the Splatsin First Nation suffer from continuing and rising threats to their once-clean drinking water.
The Hullcar Aquifer is affected by high nitrate levels due to years of uncontrolled applications of dairy farm manure to land above the aquifer – applications in excess of what the crops can absorb. Adding to that existing threat is the overflow of a manure pit right next to the Splatsin Nation and above the aquifer on February 16th.
The Environment Ministry sent a warning order to the farm in April 2016, a warning that stated “there is not sufficient capacity to store the manure over the winter.” The ministry ordered that a corrective action plan be reported within 30 days. Yet the ministry under Mary Polak failed to effectively monitor follow-up action or compliance on their own order, resulting in the breach and a dump of over 120,000 gallons of liquid manure that threatens bacterial contamination as well as further nitrate pollution.
For the Minister of Environment to say now that actions will be taken to repair the damage is simply too little, too late, and ignores the rights of those affected — indeed all British Columbians — to clean drinking water. Most other jurisdictions around the world require an emergency management plan for all agricultural sewage lagoons, but not here in B.C.
As a result of high pollution levels in their wells, the Splatsin First Nation asked the Ministry of Environment for direct contact if further events with potential of more pollution occurred. Yet over 10 days after the dairy farm spilled more than 120,000 gallons of liquid manure above the Splatsin’s drinking water supply the ministry has made no attempt at direct contact with Splatsin Chief Christian, and this is despite an order last year from the Freedom of Information Commissioner to pro-actively release information in the public interest as a result of previous refusals to share information about Hullcar water pollution.
I am committed to pursuing effective action from this BC Liberal government to force them to protect British Columbians' clean, safe drinking water — in Hullcar and throughout our province.
For clean and safe water,
MLA for Vancouver-Fairview
Official Opposition Spokesperson for Environment and Green Economy
In this clip I question Premier Clark on the contamination of drinking water, with no reply, February 21, 2017:https://youtu.be/e9NnGiOY5OY
In this clip I ask Minister Polak why she took no action to protect Hullcar residents’ drinking water, February 23, 2017:https://youtu.be/dLVXoOOwjqo