Firefighting foam spill in Abbotsford creek alarms residents

Firefighting foam could still be seen at Stoney Creek Thursday following the Wednesday spill.  (Submitted by Morgan Campbell - image credit)
Firefighting foam could still be seen at Stoney Creek Thursday following the Wednesday spill. (Submitted by Morgan Campbell - image credit)

The City of Abbotsford is working on clean up plans after after firefighting foam leaked into a creek on Wednesday, causing residents in the area to raise concerns.

According to fire Chief Erick Peterson, crews at a local firehall were adding firefighting foam — a chemical foam used to suppress fire — to the truck as part of a routine procedure when a disconnected hose accidentally released the foam into the city's storm water system. The foam then flowed into Stoney Creek Wednesday, and was visible to passersby.

Morgan Campbell, who lives just behind the creek, said she saw some of the foam the next morning. She said there was a strong odour coming from the creek, which she described as "almost like a chlorine pool mixed with bleach."

"It was giving me a migraine," she said.

A cropped photo showing a dead fish at Stoney Creek after the spill of firefighting foam.
A cropped photo showing a dead fish at Stoney Creek after the spill of firefighting foam.

Dead fish are pictured at Stoney Creek in Abbotsford, B.C., after firefighting foam ended up in the creek. (Submitted by Morgan Campbell)

She also noticed dead fish in the creek.

"It was really devastating."

The city said it's working with the B.C. environment ministry and Fisheries and Oceans Canada to address the spill.

The provincial ministry said Friday that Environment Canada and Climate Change is leading an investigation into possible contraventions of the Fisheries Act.

According to Peterson, local officials are also investigating to find out what exactly happened and how to prevent this from occurring again in the future.

"This is a beloved area of our community," he said. "Again, I greatly apologize that this has occurred and we're going to do everything we can to remedy it."

Keep pets away

Campbell is worried about the potential impact on pets since Stoney Creek sits near a dog park, where residents often let their pets run through the water.

She panicked when she learned about the spill through a community Facebook group Thursday because her own cat had just wandered outside. Xena, the cat, was a little bit sick throughout the day but was safe, she added.

The city is advising residents to stay distant and keep their pet away from the area during the cleanup process.