The City of Nanaimo and the Port of Nanaimo were investigating the source of a mystery substance that spread from a storm drain through the downtown Nanaimo Boat Basin on Monday. CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin

City investigating source of substance spilled into Nanaimo Harbour

Silty grey spill spread concern when it flowed through downtown boat basin marina Monday

A substance that flowed from a storm sewer into Nanaimo boat basin on Monday had city workers puzzled.

David Mailloux, Port of Nanaimo communications director, said in an e-mail that a spill spread for the better part of an hour Monday, but the substance was not oily and had no odour and everything was “back to normal” by late afternoon.

“There is a boom around the storm drain to deal with any outfall issues, as a precaution,” Mailloux said.

John Elliot, City of Nanaimo director of public works, said, in a phone message Tuesday that the spill was traced to the Wallace Street and China Steps area, but what the substance was and its actual source had not been determined.

“We were out there for a good chunk of the morning and afternoon yesterday … but we couldn’t find the actual source,” Elliot said. “It appeared to be a latex base, probably some paint substance, but by 3:45 it was pretty much gone in the harbour due to the tide switching and pulling it back out.”

Elliot said the city was following up at locations in the area with construction permits to make sure no one was dumping paint into the storm drains.

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