Mushroom farms fined for mess in Abbotsford creeks

The owner of two mushroom farms in Abbotsford has been fined $1,500 after a smelly, mucky mess was discovered in a pair of local streams.

Second time farm owner has been fined for discharging waste into streams

Residents of the Bradner area of Abbotsford are concerned the mess could kill fish. (Jesse Johnston/CBC)

The owner of a pair of mushroom farms in Abbotsford has been fined $1,500 after a smelly, mucky mess was discovered in a local stream.

Mike Innis wondered what was causing a foul odour near his home, so he followed his nose along a tributary that runs into Bradner Creek near 58 Avenue and Harris Road.

A black, tar-like substance can be found in the creek bed. (Jesse Johnston/CBC)

"It should be a clear little brook with clear water running in it," Innis said.

"What we've got instead is black water stinking of rotten eggs."

Waste management issues

Innis and several of his neighbours complained, prompting a city bylaw officer to visit Delfresh Mushroom Farms on April 5th.

The officer fined the property owner after a pipe was spotted discharging waste into a waterway that runs into the creek.

Abbotsford resident Mike Innis says the creek smells like rotten eggs. (Glen Kugelstadt/CBC)

Two weeks later, a separate complaint was made about H.Q. Mushroom Farm just down the road, which is owned by the same person.

"Two bylaw infractions were visually observed at the H.Q. property of an uncovered and unlined storage area for waste materials that was leaching into a water system that led into Beaver Creek," the city stated in an e-mail.

Representatives from B.C.'s Ministry of Environment also visited the site.

"The facility was verbally directed to cease all discharge by ministry staff and a pollution abatement order is currently being considered," the ministry stated in an e-mail.

"Ministry staff are currently awaiting the full results of water samples taken from the compost facility during the inspection. Preliminary fecal coliform results show that the discharge is above B.C. water quality guidelines."

The black water in this tributary flows into a salmon bearing stream. (Glen Kugelstadt/CBC)

Second Offence

In 2008 H.Q. Mushroom Farm Ltd., and another company, were together billed $90,000 in fines following an investigation by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

"Between January and March of 2006, H.Q. Mushroom Farm Ltd. failed to comply with a condition of the Fisheries Act to refrain from further depositing harmful substances such as mushroom growing waste and chemicals where these harmful substances may impact waters frequented by fish," it says in a media release from the D.F.O.

Abbotsford resident Heather Lemieux wants to see the mess cleaned up immediately. (Glen Kugelstadt/CBC)

'Clean it up'

Despite the fines from the city and ongoing investigations by the province and D.F.O, residents say the creek still looks and smells as bad as it did last week.

"Everything flows downstream and this pollution will end up in a stream that has fish in it," says Lisa Dreves with the Langley Environmental Partners Society.

People who live in the area are also concerned about children who play near the water and livestock that drink from the stream.

"The entire creek should be cleaned up and it should be paid for by whoever is causing it," said Heather Lemieux who lives nearby.

"There is no sense in waiting. Just get it done. Clean it up."


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