At a busy intersection in Kelowna a commercial truck slammed into a passenger vehicle,
sending gallons of fuel from its ruptured gas tank across the paved roadway. Firefighters
quickly arrived and mobilized to contain the massive fuel spill that had already begun
seeping into the city’s storm sewer system. Considering that the storm sewer discharges into
Lake Okanagan, and one gallon of gasoline can contaminate one million gallons of water,
city officials held their breath.
The City of Kelowna knows that long after broken glass and twisted metal are cleared,
hydrocarbon spills from car accidents pose very real environmental and economic threats.
Having researched the significant impact of traffic accident leaks on water systems, Kelowna
was especially concerned about oil and fuel washing up on the shore of the picturesque
Lake Okanagan. At the accident scene, firefighters managed to contain the spill and were
shocked to discover there was no oil in the storm sewer pipelines. City officials confirmed the
oil and fuel from the collision had been completely captured by the recently installed
Stormceptor oil grit separator. The Stormceptor’s patented technology, double-wall containment design,
and third-party test performance ensured the fuel was captured and contained. With easy
access from the roadway surface, the contaminants were later safely and easily removed
by a local maintenance operator.
“I don’t think (the Stormceptor’s role) was highly publicized, but it certainly was appreciated,” said Alan Newcombe, the former
Drainage Manager for the City of Kelowna. “Without it, you can imagine there would have been quite the environmental effect.”
Along with Newcombe, the city breathed an enormous sigh of relief as their drinking water supply was protected. Additionally,
many of its 100,000+ area residents, as well as tourists, flock to Lake Okanagan every summer to swim, canoe, fish and sail.
Hikers, skiers and bird-watchers also enjoy the nearby provincial conservation areas year-round. If the fuel spill had reached the
lake, hydrocarbons would have immediately caused a health safety issue and other environmental harm. Newcombe noted the
intersection where the accident took place was also very close to a creek that housed a commercial fishery.
Closing the lake or fishery down to the public for any length of time would be an economic and environmental disaster. The
tally for lost revenue, not to mention the cost of any clean-up projects, would quickly skyrocket. Determined to protect its
community, Kelowna has well over 25 Stormceptor units located at busy intersections.
Some intersections are equipped with as many as four separate units to ensure spills are
caught. With its simple design, proven and verified ability to capture and contain pollutants,
Stormceptor is ideal for Kelowna’s long-term pollution prevention strategy, and public health
and safety protection.