By Tom Zytaruk and Amy Reid, Surrey Now
SURREY — The City of Surrey will spend up to $40,000 to clean up a detention pond in Newton after somebody dumped into the water up to 80 litres of chemicals commonly used to make the illegal drug MDMA, or ecstasy.
The pond is at 70th Avenue and 138th Street. Stephen Godwin, environment manager for the city said a resident alerted city staff on Feb. 20 after spotting an oily sheen in the pond.
“Due to the localized nature of the contamination and early containment, we do not believe there was risk to health or wildlife,” Godwin told the Now.
He noted the pond is fenced off “so it is unlikely that any people had contact with the contaminated area.
“Due to the recent bouts of snow and ice, wildlife were not present at the pond in the affected locations,” he said. “The City is unaware of any affected wildlife at this time.”
Samples were sent to lab which identified the oily substance to be “consistent with those commonly used in clandestine labs to manufacture MDMA,” Godwin said. “It is estimated that perhaps one or two five-gallon (or twenty litre) buckets were deposited into the pond at two discrete locations. The estimate on the volume is derived by the total area affected and the amount of slick produced.”
Godwin said the slick, thought to be “vegetable-based” oil, contained trace amounts of dichloromethane and the clean-up is expected to cost $20,000 to $40,000.
“The chemicals were not found upstream of the pond location in any of the storm drain network which leads us to the conclusion that they were deposited directly into the pond. It appears that the chemicals were delivered to the location by foot.”
Godwin said that while all civic governments are “challenged” with illegal dumping on city lands and roads, and within storm drain systems, “it is relatively uncommon that detention ponds are selected as an illegal dump site for clandestine labs.