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Concerns raised about use of crushed asphalt
A local resident is raising concerns regarding the use of crushed asphalt.
Abbotsford's Anne Graham believes at least one landowner and the city may be putting the local environment at risk.
The city has used crushed asphalt to create a pathway along manmade Walmsley Lake located in Albert Dyck Park, and Graham has also complained to city hall about a farm in the area that has had several dozen loads of crushed asphalt dumped on the property.
This week, she filed a complaint with an enforcement officer for the provincial Agricultural Land Commission.
"Whoever owns that property has dumped a lot of fill on that corner with asphalt... And that is a farm, over top of ground water," she said.
Graham is concerned that the crushed asphalt will leach out phenols and heavy metals, while chemicals from the material used at Albert Dyck Park will seep into the water.
City officials say there is no reason for concern.
"The roadway was put in last year," explained Mark Taylor, the city's general manager of parks, recreation and culture.
In spring 2012, new sand was brought into Albert Dyck Park to refurbish the beach area. A short roadway (using asphalt grindings) was also put in at the base of the sloped area away from the water’s edge to support truck access to the in-ground garbage containers.
"There's been no leakage of any contaminants into the lake," he said.
Taylor said regular testing of the water is performed year-round. He could not be specific on the frequency of winter testing but said during the summer months the lake is tested three times a week.
"The leachate from the asphalt will show up as an oil on the surface and we just haven't experienced that whatsoever."
In a written response to inquiries by The News, the B.C. Ministry of the Environment stated, "While the ministry of environment does not specifically regulate this type of use, the Environmental Management Act does prohibit pollution from any source.
"If it was established that the asphalt was somehow negatively impacting the environment, including the nearby waterway, the party who placed the asphalt may be liable for clean-up."
Graham believes a closer examination of the situation will show that crushed asphalt is a concern.
"I want to know who's doing it, why are they doing it and maybe let's educate people who own ALR (Agricultural Land Reserve) land or property around ALR land on what they can and can't do."
Jim Gordon, Abbotsford's general manager of engineering and regional utilities said the city is aware of the farm, located in the area of Huntingdon and Clearbrook Roads.
He said the land owner plans to use the asphalt to create a driveway, which Gordon said is not a threat to the aquifer or the environment.
However, there are still outstanding issues to be resolved.
"The asphalt grindings were placed there without a city permit and without ALC approval," he said.
The city is now following up with the property owner regarding the soils bylaw and will likely refer the issue to the Agricultural Land Commission.
"It's an ongoing situation," said Gordon.