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Victoria company fined $11,000 one year after bleach spill kills fish in Sidney

Dead fish initially found in Reay Creek by child in 2021; province issued penalty
A Victoria exterior cleaning company was fined $11,000 in June after bleach it was using last year to remove moss from roofs ended up in Sidney’s Reay Creek, killing more than 300 fish and other animals. (Courtesy of Ian Bruce/Peninsula Streams Society)

A Victoria exterior washing company has been fined by the province as a result of a bleach spill into Sidney’s Reay Creek in 2021 that killed more than 300 fish and other organisms.

Elevate Exterior Washing Ltd. was issued an administrative penalty of $11,000 on June 20 of this year. The company had been using bleach as a roof de-mosser, which ultimately contaminated a 150-metre stretch of the creek downstream of the Wesbrook Drive storm sewer outfall, according to a list of recently issued environmental compliance reports from the Ministry of Environment.

According to the province, administrative monetary penalties are “discretionary financial penalties” which can be issued without the procedural and legal requirements of a criminal prosecution, making them “an effective and efficient enforcement option.”

The contamination first came to light on June 4, 2021 when a child found the dead fish and their parents alerted the Town of Sidney, who in turn asked the Peninsula Streams Society to investigate.

Black Press Media reported soon after the discovery crews recovered 318 dead cutthroat trout, six coho salmon, 13 sculpins and 11 sticklebacks from the creek.

The incident turned into a teaching opportunity for some local students, with Deep Cove elementary releasing 100 coho salmon fry into the creek several days later, while the Sinclair family, who first discovered the dead fish, said they spent the afternoon with cleanup and investigative crews who were happy to share the details of what they were doing and why.

READ MORE: Several hundred fish dead in Sidney’s Reay Creek after suspected bleach leak

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