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Mystery spill strikes again

Grey, stinky stuff found for third time near BMX park

By: Kevin Ma

  |  Posted: Tuesday, Jul 15, 2014 03:00 pm

GREY GOO RETURNS – An unidentified, smelly, grey-blue substance was spotted in the pool at Outfall No. 3 near the BMX park Monday evening. It's the third time in 10 months that this mysterious pollutant has been spotted here. City officials have contained the spill with booms and are attempting to identify its source.
GREY GOO RETURNS – An unidentified, smelly, grey-blue substance was spotted in the pool at Outfall No. 3 near the BMX park Monday evening. It's the third time in 10 months that this mysterious pollutant has been spotted here. City officials have contained the spill with booms and are attempting to identify its source.
CANDACE ELLIOT/St. Albert Gazette

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A mysterious grey pollutant has shown up in a stormwater outfall near the Sturgeon River for the third time in 10 months.

St. Albert strategic services director Leah Kongsrude issued a notice Tuesday afternoon that an unknown substance had been spotted in the water near Outfall No. 3, which is by the BMX track in the Riel Industrial Park.

A resident reported the substance to the St. Albert fire department at about 7:45 p.m. Monday.

The substance, which is currently undergoing analysis, has the same greyish-blue colour and foul stench of two previous spills at this outfall discovered last September and October.

The September spill contained heavy metals at levels high enough to potentially harm fish.

Lilo Engler, who walks by this outfall regularly, said she saw the grey, turquoise sheen left by the substance in the water on Monday.

“I smelled it already a couple of days ago,” she said, adding that the sheen only showed up Monday.

“Today (the smell) was really bad.”

She was not the one who told the fire department about it, she added.

The substance has since stopped flowing and has been contained with booms, Kongsrude said in the release. If analysis suggests that the substance contains pollutants at levels above environmental guidelines, crews will suck it up with a vacuum truck.

Alberta Environment and Environment Canada have been notified of the spill.

City officials have yet to determine the source of this or the other two spills at this location. Previous investigations suggest that the substance was coming from somewhere on Rayborn Crescent.

The city must get to the bottom of this and protect the health of the Sturgeon River, Engler said.

“I know it’s got to be stopped.”

The Gazette will have more details on the spill later this week.


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