Briarwood Creek while the white substance was flowing down it. (Nikki Scott photo)

Mysterious white substance in North Delta creek likely paint, city says

The substance did not appear to be toxic and was cleaned up on July 10

A white substance found in Briarwood Creek is likely a paint spill, Delta staff said today (July 11).

In the afternoon on Tuesday, July 10, significant amounts of a white material flowing down a stream towards Watershed Creek. The city came and investigated after reports from residents came in about the unusual colour of the water.

According to Delta’s senior environmental officer, Erin Clement, the substance looked like it could have been paint that was washed down during the heavy rainfall earlier in the week.

The substance did not appear to be toxic, she said, as there were live invertebrates on the bottom of the creek. There are no fish in that creek, but the water does lead to Watershed Creek further down.

Delta staff looked at storm drains that lead into the creek to try and identify the source of the substance, but couldn’t find a definitive location. An after-hours truck was called in to clean up the residue which by then had settled near the bottom of the creek.

Clement said this type of spill is not uncommon.

“People don’t know that the storm drains are connected,” she said. “If you’re pouring latex paint wash water, and that goes down the grate or catch basin in your backyard, people may not be aware of where it goes.”

The city will be sending out letters to homes in the surrounding areas, reminding people not to put anything other than rainwater into the storm drains.

“Everything is leading to a fish habitat downstream,” Clement said.


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