The health advisory for Vancouver beaches that was issued following the English Bay bunker fuel oil spill has been lifted.
Vancouver Coastal Health and the City of Vancouver announced today that the advisories for English Bay, Sunset Beach, Second Beach and Third Beach have been lifted. No oil can be seen on the surface of the water and cleaning crews have removed all observed tar balls and oils along the shoreline to the most feasible extent.
But advisories remain for Crab Park and New Brighton Park as well as the beaches in West Vancouver.
“The advisories have been lifted because it has been confirmed that lab analysis of water and beach samples show no harmful levels of oil present,” reads a joint statement by the City and the health authority. “However, beach-goers are cautioned to remain vigilant and avoid contact with any small amounts of remaining oil.”
A total of 16 beaches were affected by the April 8 incident when the newly built, grain-carrying cargo ship Marathassa spilled highly carcinogenic and toxic oil into Burrard Inlet. Early estimates indicate about 3,000 litres was spilled, but a more accurate estimate will be made in the coming weeks.
According to the release, cleanup and inspections will continue at the beaches. There is a possibility that particles of oil may continue to appear in intertidal zones over the coming weeks, but this is part of the natural ecosystem recovery – these will dissipate through ongoing tidal cycles.