Today, I moved a bill that amends the Environmental Management Act to protect drinking water. This amendment, if passed, would disallow the deposit of waste materials in a sand or gravel pit, in a limestone or sandstone quarry or above a highly sensitive aquifer. Quarries and gravel pits are porous, which means there could be significant risk of groundwater contamination from waste deposited.
On Vancouver Island, there are two examples where this practice has caused great concern. In Shawnigan, residents remain anxious about water contamination from a quarry used for landfill and contaminated soil. The permit has been revoked, but the waste remains at the headwater of Shawnigan’s drinking watershed, and it must be removed.
In Campbell River, the community has grave concerns about a quarry being granted a permit to deposit waste. The quarry is adjacent to Rico Lake, which drains into McIvor Lake, the town’s drinking water.
Protecting drinking water needs to be a government’s highest priority. This amendment to the Environmental Management Act will help us take steps toward this goal.