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Over 1,000 fish killed after firefighting foam spills into Abbotsford creek

Click to play video: 'Clean-up continues after toxic spill kills more than 1000 fish in Abbotsford'
Clean-up continues after toxic spill kills more than 1000 fish in Abbotsford
We're getting a closer look today at the extent of damage caused by a chemical leak into a Fraser Valley waterway last week. More than a thousand fish are dead and as Janet Brown reports, park users say the spill response should have been quicker – Jul 9, 2024

Clean-up efforts are underway at Stoney Creek in Abbotsford’s Bateman Park, where toxic chemicals killed an estimated 1,000 fish.

It happened on Friday after an accidental release of firefighting foam ran into a storm drain.

QM Environmental, the company contracted to remediate the creek, said it has treated about 1.2 million litres of water so far.

Click to play video: 'Accidental release of firefighting foam kills fish in Abbotsford creek'
Accidental release of firefighting foam kills fish in Abbotsford creek

“The goal of any spill we work on is to bring back to the same state as it was previously or into a better state than it was,” said regional manager Troy Kizmann.

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Abbotsford Fire Chief Erick Peterson said the entire fire department feels terrible about the spill.

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“To the citizens of Abbotsford, I am deeply apologetic for what’s occurred,” he said.

Peterson took responsibility for the incident, saying concentrated firefighting foam was accidentally spilled at Firehall 7, where it flowed into a storm drain and into Stoney Creek.

“Firefighting foam has a lot of toxic chemicals in it things like ammonium phosphate and it only takes a few milligrams per litre of water to be deadly for fish so it’s really toxic stuff,” river conservationist Mark Angelo said.

Along with the estimated 1,000 fish that died, the city said another 1,200 were moved into fresh water.

Click to play video: 'Accidental release of firefighting foam devastates Abbotsford creek'
Accidental release of firefighting foam devastates Abbotsford creek

But some residents remain concerned about how the situation was handled.

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“When you consider the time it took for the response where is that water, how far down the Matsqui Flats, did it make it to the Fraser River?” park user Kelly Perrin asked.

Angelo said the incident highlights just how vulnerable urban streams are.

Matsqui First Nation Chief Alice McKay told Global News fish is one of their most precious resources and to see over a thousand dead has been stressful.

There’s no word on how long the cleanup could take, the cost, or if there will be fines or disciplinary action.

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