Murray McFadden, Elaine Desnoyers and Jane Robson are among a group of Brookswood residents petitioning for zero emissions at South Surrey’s Campbell Heights business park. Miranda Gathercole/Langley Times

Brookswood residents petition for zero emissions at South Surrey industrial park

Residents concerned pollutants from Ebco and Weir will impact potable water in Brookswood aquifer

A group of Brookswood residents, who fear that pollutants from two industrial plants in South Surrey may contaminate their groundwater, are asking for written support from their neighbours in a petition for zero emissions.

Elaine Desnoyers, Marilyn Henderson, Margaret McDonald, Murray McFadden and Jane Robson have been canvasing homes in Brookswood/Fernridge all week with their petition, which was inspired by an April motion from Coun. Petrina Arnason to look into potential water quality issues from the Ebco and Weir facilities in the Campbell Heights business park.

Both Ebco — which provides metal finishing and hot-dip galvanizing services — and Weir — which manufactures rubber-lined steel pipes — have applied to Metro Vancouver for air quality permits to discharge contaminants.

“This is not a random, irrelevant type of issue. This is something that is tremendously serious. We’re allowing hazardous materials into our neighbourhoods,” said Henderson.

“This is a very heavily populated area, plus the aquifers, and this (the Brookswood Aquifer) being one of the most vulnerable ones. And the water systems running through this area, like Anderson Creek. There is a lot of water in this area that can be affected in an extremely negative manner.”

According to the Township’s 2015 water quality report, almost 95,000 residents have water supplied by the municipality, with the remaining residents using private or community wells.

In the southwest communities (Brookswood, Fernridge and Murrayville), water is received from the Greater Vancouver Water District (GVWD) main near 36 Avenue and 196 Street, and from Township-operated wells in Brookswood (Brookswood wells 7, 9 and 10) and Murrayville (Murrayville wells 1 and 2).

McFadden noted that the GVWD, a division of Metro Vancouver, has protected their Capilano, Seymour and Coquitlam watersheds from human access, urban development and human-caused disturbances.

“The difference here (in Campbell Heights) is that point-source pollution is being put out right on top of the aquifer,” McFadden said. “If you put it out in Richmond (where Ebco and Weir were previously located) it gets diluted by the Pacific Ocean and the Fraser River. It’s not the same animal. The city would not let us put these things up on Mt. Seymour. They would go nuts because then it’s going directly into the main water supply for the city and for the whole Greater Vancouver regional district.

“Langley deserves to enjoy the same zero emission protections that GVWD demands for its visible water reservoirs.”

The residents are hoping to collect 3,000 signatures by May 29, when Township council holds its next meeting.

Those interested can visit the group outside Buy-Low Foods, 4121 200 St., on Thursday, May 18 from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m., and on Sunday, May 21 from noon to 4 p.m.

An online version is also available at change.org. Search “Protect Langley’s Aquifers — Enact Zero Emission/Pollution Policy Same as GVWD Reservoirs.”

For more information, call Henderson at 604-539-6800.

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