City of Delta cleaning up plastic waste on banks of waterway, says ‘responsible party’ will pay

The City of Delta says it is continuing to clean up industrial plastic pollution spread around Annacis Island due to flooding over the weekend, and will pass the costs on to the “responsible party.”

In a statement to Global News, the city did not identify that party, but said it and the Ministry of Environment will be conducting an inspection of the “likely source business.”

The plastic waste was first identified by environmental group The Surfrider Foundation on the weekend, which found piles of plastic bits up to three centimetres deep around Audley Canal on Annacis Island on Saturday.

The pellets, known as “nurdles,” are made from plastic polymers and are used in the production of items like single-use plastic bags and water bottles.

The City of Delta said cleanup was already underway when staff inspected the canal on Monday, and that they observed no plastic floating in the waterway.

“It appears the plastic was deposited on the grassed area during flood conditions and filtered out of the water as water levels receded,” said a city spokesperson.

“Staff did not find plastic in the Audley pump station chamber that precedes the flow to the Fraser River; trace amounts were noted in the forebay area.

“Floating material including plastic waste is typically captured within the forebay of the pump station and cleaned out as part of maintenance activities.”

It said work to clean plastic off the banks of the canal is ongoing.

The discovery of the plastic came months after the Surfrider Foundation released a three-year study, raising concerns about plastic pellets getting into Metro Vancouver storm drains which feed the Fraser River and the Salish Sea.

The group says some of that plastic has made its way as far as the West Coast of Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast and the Gulf Islands.

Delta says it has implemented improvements in screening of drainage catch basins and “housekeeping” at a number of sites to try and prevent plastic pollution from getting into waterways.

— With files from Sean Boynton

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