Following a diesel fuel spill in Marie Lake, BC, Hemmera was tasked with investigating the site, assessing the environmental risks, and then guiding the remediation efforts. First, containment booms and oil water separators were installed to prevent the fuel from spreading and reduce the potential risks. Next, soil and sediments were removed from the area between the spill point and the lake’s edge, to prevent the long-term leaching of diesel fuel into the lake.
Our post-spill work included a site investigation, risk assessment, and remediation. A notable aspect of the risk assessment was our use of fish genomics to explore the spill’s non-lethal effects on the lake’s fish. We were the first in Canada, and possibly in the world, to apply genomics analysis to an actual spill situation. Our fish genomics analysis proved essential todemonstrating the extent of the spill’s effects on the fish population, and contributed to the assessment of the spill’s potential long-term impacts on human health and the environment, providing a line of evidence for the potential long-term impacts of the spill on human health and the environment.
The risk assessment also incorporated sampling of soil, sediment, and surface water and an assessment of the lake’s benthic invertebrate community. Toxicity testing was also performed to determine whether lake water and sediment would create toxic effects on resident species.
As a result of our work, the spill’s response met the requirements of all regulatory bodies, and the client was able to implement closure plans that included water and sediment monitoring to ensure there were no long-term impacts to the lake.