“Communities need to work harder on preventing ‘catastrophic’ failures that damage watersheds and become very costly for homeowners to mitigate,” says Tim Pringle
Note to Reader:
The Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC (i.e. “the Partnership) has released a research report that identifies measures that can be adopted by local government in the Capital Region to prevent leakage from underground storage tanks on residential properties and eliminate contamination of watercourses as well as properties. The need for preventative action was identified as a priority by stakeholders at an information session hosted by the Victoria Real Estate Board in July 2013. The Partnership became involved based on this shared outlook.
REPORT RELEASED: Water Sustainability Group Provides Advice to BC’s Capital Region on Oil Tanks
Last week, another residential oil tank leak was discovered in the Blenkinsop Creek watershed. The event coincides with a just-completed research report from the Partnership for Water Sustainability in British Columbia written specifically for Capital Regional District communities urging priority work on updating information on existing underground storage tanks (USTs) in an ‘amalgamated’, coordinated fashion.
“Adequate and consistent inventory would make it possible to systematically locate USTs and work with property owners to have them removed,” says Tim Pringle, Past-President of the Partnership, a non-profit organization with more than ten years of experience working with communities on Vancouver Island and elsewhere to plan for and implement water sustainability practices.
The report found that about 10.5%, or 13,055 homes constructed in the Capital Regional District prior to 1992, when natural gas became available, had oil heating installed. Failure of old oil heating systems, including unmaintained underground storage tanks (USTs), can lead to spills and costly clean up.
“Failures likely will continue for decades in the CRD as has been the experience of the districts of North Vancouver and West Vancouver, where conversion to natural gas began in 1957. Communities need to work harder on preventing what I call ‘catastrophic’ failures that damage watersheds and become very costly for homeowners to mitigate,” says Pringle.
Fewer than half of the municipalities in the CRD have up-to-date inventories that include the number of oil heating systems, their condition, and whether or not there may be USTs. In view of the need for complete information, the Partnership research recommends that “the CRD, on behalf of its municipal members, initiate and help coordinate a project to design and adopt one inventory system to track residential properties with oil heating systems in any condition.
To Learn More:
The full report is posted on the waterbucket.ca website and can be downloaded by clicking on Managing Residential Oil Heat Systems in the Capital Region.
To download a copy of this News Release, click on Water Sustainability Group Provides Advice to CRD on Oil Tanks.
- See Appendix One for a list of Participants at the July 2013 Information Session.
- See Appendix Two for a list of persons receiving this release and the report.
For more information about the report findings and recommendations, contact Tim Pringle at 250-538-8520.