$200K later, Saanich family may need $500K more to clean their property’s toxic soil

Click to play video: 'Toxic soil nightmare continues for Saanich family' Toxic soil nightmare continues for Saanich family
A homeowners’ nightmare for a Saanich family appears to be getting worse, as they struggle to deal with toxic soil on their property. Neetu Garcha has the story – Nov 14, 2017

The bills keep climbing for a Saanich family that bought a property five years ago, only to find that they were walking on toxic ground.

In March, the Blazkow family had spent $100,000 to dig 80 dump trucks worth of toxic soil out of the five-acre property, and they estimated it would cost them $200,000 in total.

WATCH: Saanich family lives homeowners’ nightmare

Click to play video: 'Saanich family lives homeowners’ nightmare' Saanich family lives homeowners’ nightmare
Saanich family lives homeowners’ nightmare – Mar 10, 2017

Now, they’ve spent nearly that amount, and treating the soil could set them back another $500,000.

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This, as the Blazkows say they’re almost completely tapped out.

“We don’t have anymore,” Cathy Blazkow told Global News.

“I had to sell the other house that Peter and I were using for our retirement to help us with our pensions.”

The Blazkows learned of the toxic soil when they tried to build a new garage on their property.

They found ground that smelled of fuel.

It wasn’t until they filed a Freedom of Information request that they learned the site has previously been used as a generator of special waste.

READ MORE: 500 kids sick at Chinese school built on toxic soil: report

“It looks like a lot of tanks and other industrial activity had occurred on the property historically,” said Timothy Repas, an environmental engineer who has been working to clean the soil.

“We suspect everything’s related to that.”

The Blazkows are now suing the previous owners. But they’re not sure how long they can hold out.

“I’m just hoping that I’m going to still be alive when this is all done,” Cathy said.

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The family has received no help from either the District of Saanich or the provincial government despite hundreds of phone calls.

The B.C. Ministry of Environment said there are no special funds to help homeowners clean up contaminated soil on their properties.

“At present cost recovery is best sought from responsible parties,” the ministry said in an email.

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