Vancouver Island Region EPD


Summary:

In August 2013, South Island Aggregates/Cobble Hill Holdings was granted a permit (#105809) under the Environmental Management Act (EMA) to receive contaminated soils and ash and process it through bioremediation or landfilling, and discharge treated effluent to an ephemeral stream. The permit is specific to contaminated soil management activities. A general information sheet on the permit is available here. Other activities that are occurring on Lot 23, such as the rock quarry, do not require a permit under EMA. Quarrying operations are regulated by the Ministry of Energy and Mines under the Mines Act. Regardless of the fact that there is no EMA permit in place for the general quarrying operations, EMA does not allow for any activity to cause pollution so water management and other activities on the quarry site must not cause pollution.

The permit was appealed and the Environmental Appeal Board upheld the permit decision; the permit was amended on June 4, 2015 to incorporate additional requirements as directed by the Environmental Appeal Board. Below is a list of FAQ’s for this site, as well as documents relating to the original permit application, and ongoing oversight of the permit by the Ministry of Environment.

Many questions have been raised about water management requirements in the permit. The permit requires that contact water (leachate) from the engineered lined soil management area and the engineered lined landfill facility be collected and, as necessary, treated, to achieve stringent water quality guidelines, prior to release to the environment. Other non-contact water is managed according to requirements specified in the permit and the water management plan.

The Ministry expects the permittee to comply with all requirements of the permit. The permit and its requirements are available below.

Compliance and Monitoring at South Island Aggregates/Cobble Hill Holdings

Subsequent to compliance inspections at the South Island Aggregates/Cobble Hill Holdings site during the period of November 12, 2015 through December 2nd, 2015, the Ministry of Environment has found the site to be in compliance with its Ministry of Environment Permit (#105809). During this period, ministry staff attended the site and collected both water and soil samples in response to concerns raised by residents about stormwater runoff during a rain event.

The permittee has recently installed surface water ditching and swales to prevent a previous uncontrolled flow of non-contact surface water off the western property boundary. Now that the site has experienced some significant rainfall events, based on compliance assessments and spill reports related to the site and to ensure the water management works are adequate, the Ministry is requiring the permittee to hire an independent qualified professional to conduct a full review of the works, systems and procedures to ensure they are all functioning according to plans, specifications and permit conditions. This includes the settling pond.

At this time, the Ministry has no reason to believe there are any issues with the contact water management systems; however, their performance will be fully reviewed by the independent qualified professional as part of the full review of site water management. If the review reveals any inadequacies in the system, the Ministry will take swift action to ensure protection of the environment.

Regarding the Thurber and Madrone Reports commissioned by the CVRD, the Ministry has received and reviewed both reports. The Thurber report recommends additional review of water management infrastructure and procedures, which the permittee has been required to undertake as per above. The Madrone report confirms that all water quality guidelines were met at the ephemeral creek sampling site which receives all runoff and water from the portion of Lot 23 which is of interest. These results are generally consistent with significant additional datasets collected by the Ministry as well as by the permittee. The Ministry will forward both reports to the permittee and their Qualified Professionals for consideration.

Below, on this page, the Ministry has posted correspondence between the permittee and the Ministry, summaries of findings from site inspections, and correspondence to the Cowichan Valley Regional District relating to the South Island Aggregates/Cobble Hill Holdings site. The Ministry will continue to work closely with agency partners including Island Health and the Cowichan Valley Regional District with respect to compliance with the permit.

Environmental complaints, such a witnessing suspected pollution, are best reported to the Report All Poachers & Polluters (RAPP) line toll free 1 877 952-7277 or write to environmentalcomplaints@gov.bc.ca. All complaints received are tracked and prioritized for an appropriate response based on risk by the Ministry’s Compliance Unit.

FAQ Sheet – December 4, 2015

Ministry of Environment Information Sheet Water Management at Cobble Hill Holdings – December 4, 2015

Response to CVRD Regarding Storm Water Assessment and Water Quality Testing – December 3, 2015

Response to CHH Regarding Compliance Issues - December 3, 2015

Soil Quality at Cobble Hill Holdings - November 24, 2015

Stormwater Quality at Cobble Hill Holdings - November 23, 2015

Letter to CHH Regarding Compliance Issues – November 18, 2015

Surface Stormwater Quality at Cobble Hill Holdings - November 17, 2015

Permit Application Documents related to Permit 105809 for South Island Aggregates/Cobble Hill Holdings Ltd. at 640 Stebbings Road.

Reports and Information Sheets related to South Island Aggregates/Cobble Hill Holdings

Other Resources