The Town of Banff became aware of blue dye being reported in the Bow River coming from a storm water discharge location at just before 3 pm today (Monday, May 2). The location of the discharge was just downstream of the vehicle bridge (Bow River Bridge) on the south side of the river.
The Town’s manager of water services notified Parks Canada and environment protection authorities immediately, and the municipal water services crews quickly investigated the storm system in southside neighbourhoods to pinpoint the source.
The Town’s water services crews tracked the location where a blue substance had been poured into the storm water drain in Middle Springs neighbourhood. A curb storm water drain was the location of a discharge.
With approval from Parks Canada, the Town water services crews began dechlorinating water from a fire hydrant to flush the storm drain. The high-volume flushing was intended to dilute the substance that is going through the system and into the Bow River to minimize impact. It is not known at this time the volume of the inappropriate substance poured into the drain or the nature of the substance. Municipal crews are closely monitoring the drainage system and river water. The approval to flush the system was rescinded a short time later.
At the same time, Parks Canada wardens attended the area where the dumping occurred and conducted a door-to-door investigation, seeking any information about the incident.
At this time, neither the Town of Banff nor Parks Canada has determined the exact nature of the substance nor the impact on the aquatic system, or the individual or individuals responsible. Parks Canada is leading that component of the investigation.
The Town of Banff takes very seriously the protection of our the environment and the local ecosystem, and is working closely with Parks Canada to address and assess the impact, and fully support the investigation.