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Fuel spill: Unified Command beach update

April 18 2015

English Bay

Unified Command today announced that health advisories on all Vancouver beaches with the exception of Crab and New Brighton parks have been lifted by Vancouver Coastal Health and the City (English Bay, Sunset Beach, Second Beach, and Third Beach).

Advisories on beaches in the District of West Vancouver remain in effect.

All remaining advisories will be lifted pending the results of visual inspections and test sample results.

Why the advisories have been lifted

The advisories have been lifted because it has been confirmed that lab analysis of water and beach samples show no harmful levels of oil present. However, beach-goers are cautioned to remain vigilant and avoid contact with any small amounts of remaining oil.

Inspections on beaches continue

Unified Command partners are continuing to conduct inspections on sixteen affected beaches. It is expected that several of these beaches will be “released” from clean up.

When a beach is “released” it means Unified Command has determined that any further cleaning would cause more harm than good.

Cleanup efforts have focused on eliminating risks to:

  • Human health
  • Advancing environmental recovery
  • Protecting First Nation’s cultural artifacts

Shoreline Cleanup Assessment Techniques (SCAT) teams have been conducting oil removal and, along with Environmental Health Officers from Vancouver Coastal Health, conducted beach inspections since the spill occurred. Each beach receives individual cleanup and remediation measures. For example, different technologies are used for natural habitats, parks, and high public access areas than for man-made shorelines. Unified Command partners decided that no chemical agents would be used in beach cleaning.

No more oil has been seen on the surface of water

For public access beaches all observed tar balls and oil have been removed to the extent feasible. No more oil has been seen on the surface of the water. Particles of oil may continue to appear in intertidal zones over the coming weeks. This is part of the natural ecosystem recovery and these will dissipate through ongoing tidal cycles. Please avoid any contact with tar balls.

Unified Command and its partners

Unified Command coordinates all aspects of the responsive initiative through the collaboration of the Canadian Coast Guard and its partners:

  • Transport Canada
  • Environment Canada
  • Tsleil-Waututh Nation
  • Squamish Nation
  • BC Ministry of Environment
  • Emergency Management BC
  • Vancouver Coastal Health
  • City of Vancouver
  • District of West Vancouver
  • District of North Vancouver
  • Western Canada Marine Response Corporation
  • Focus Wildlife
  • Port Metro Vancouver

Learn about our involvement

Clean up crews working to clean the shoreline after a bunker fuel spill

Oil spill response

Learn how we respond to oil spills. Includes details on the Emergency Operations Centre, Unified Command, and the equipment used in a cleanup.