Pubdate: Tue, 13 Feb 2007
Source: Langley Advance (CN BC)
Copyright: 2007 Lower Mainland Publishing Group Inc.
Author: Tom Zytaruk
Bookmark: (Methamphetamine)


Containers containing dangerous chemicals broke open in the Cloverdale
area on Thursday.

Environment protection agencies are assessing the impact two meth lab
dumps are having on nearby land and water, after they were discovered
in the Cloverdale area last week.

Authorities cancelled plans to evacuate up to 200 homes Thursday night
after the Surrey fire department and HAZCO Environmental conducted air
quality and other tests at the sites and deemed them "safe and secure."

Barrels, buckets and garbage bags containing dangerous chemicals like
hydriodic, caustic and muriatic acid, red phosphorus and sodium
hydroxide were found on a residential development site on the
northwest corner of 182nd Street and 70th Avenue on Tuesday. The
containers broke open after being pushed around with a backhoe,
releasing a gaseous cloud that made the machine operator's tongue numb
and caused quite a scare in the neighbourhood.

At this site there were up to 10 garbage bags and 12 five-gallon
buckets containing chemicals which, when they got wet, released a
plume of gas about as high as a telephone pole and a quarter of a block long.

Another dump site found in the 7300-block of 194th Street contained 10
45-gallon drums of chemicals and nine smaller containers.

Both sites were put under guard and specialists from several agencies
decided to put the neighbourhood on alert that people living within a
half-kilometre radius of the sites might have to be evacuated.

That, however, didn't come to pass and both sites were expected to be
cleaned up soon. Besides the Surrey RCMP, fire department, city hall
and school district, the GVRD Regulatory Enforcement, HAZCO, Emergency
Social Services and environment and agriculture ministries were
involved in the effort.

Police reported environmental consultants have been deployed to assess
any potential soil and water contamination.

Surrey Deputy Fire Chief Jon Caviligia said the surface of the first
site was cleared up by Friday and that agencies would be testing the
soil and nearby drainage ditches to see if more work needs to be done.

"That's the next step," he said.

Meantime, police have yet to identify the dumpers.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Derek