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The CRD has made significant progress toward understanding the site’s contaminant distribution and site investigations continue towards meeting the BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy (ENV) requirements to obtain a Certificate of Compliance. Work planned for 2019-2020 is expected to include drilling, soil movement within the site boundaries, and sampling of soil and groundwater.
In June 2019, the CRD Board approved a capital plan amendment to increase the Millstream Meadows total project budget to $14.3 million from $13.6 million, with the additional project budget funded from a combination of provincial contribution, capital funds on hand and the reserve fund from the septage disposal service in the 2019-2020 year.
History - Millstream Meadows is located approximately 10km north-northwest of Victoria in the District of Highlands. Millstream Meadows is a 32 acre site used as an unregulated landfill for septic discharge dating from approximately 1941 to closure in 1985. The site was privately owned from early 1941 until 1972. The Province acquired, owned and operated the site for a brief time in 1974, and then transferred ownership to the Capital Regional District (CRD) in 1984.
The CRD and the provincial government, as potentially responsible persons, initiated site remediation in 2008 after monitoring results identified contamination on-site but downgradient of the former waste lagoons. The remediation work involved excavating most of the contaminated soils, disposing the material at permitted offsite facilities, backfilling the excavation with clean material and installing a groundwater recovery well. Prior to remediation, the site was deemed contaminated with the metals, hydrocarbons, household debris, construction refuse, auto parts, PCBs, sewage, and oily waste. Site conditions have improved since remediation commenced in 2008.
In 2007, as a precautionary measure that ensures public safety, the CRD instituted routine domestic well sampling and drinking water provision to residents near the site. Results have consistently shown that domestic well water quality is clean. These proactive safety measures continue to date.
Provincial Partnership - The Province, the CRD and the District of Highlands have worked cooperatively on this brownfields project to return the property to public use. The CRD is taking the lead in the remediation program and costs are being shared in a 61%-39% split with the provincial government.
Environmental Planning & Current Activities - The CRD plans to obtain a Certificate of Compliance from the B.C. Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy (MOE). This certification will confirm full protection of human health and the environment and is in accordance with the Environmental Management Act and Contaminated Sites Regulation. To meet requirements, investigations and monitoring will be conducted at the Millstream Meadows site through ~2020. The results of these investigations will inform the scope and estimated timeline for project completion.
Future Land Use Planning - Once certified, the CRD and the Province intend to prepare the property for sale. In support for sale, the CRD initiated re-zoning to Commercial Industrial Land Use in 2015. The current zoning is Greenbelt 2 and permits one (1) residential house to be constructed on the lot. The re-zoning is in accordance with the District of Highlands Official Community Plan and is supported by the Province.
© Image courtesy of Minette Layne