Monday, July 23, 2012

Toxic... perhaps.

Today, on the first day of our third week of camp, we faced something of a challenge. And, indeed will face as a challenge over the next few days.

I was working on some paperwork in the office when I was interrupted by our program co-ordinator about an issue on the beach. I headed out the door and was contacted on my "walkie" by our lifeguard asking that I go to the beach. Upon approaching the beach I could smell something akin to kerosene.

While launching a raft, floated on large cryptically labelled barrels, our neighbour allowed a quantity of an unknown substance to escape into the lake. This created a large slick of a badly smelling, oily substance on top of the water. The lifeguard and waterfront staff had all the campers out of the water immediately as we began to investigate the problem.

In the end I was unable to find out from the neighbour just what the substance is that has leaked into the lake and was forced to call the department of environment. A gentleman came immediately and took water samples - upon investigating he found that the barrel was labelled with UN3264. This does not necessarily mean that is what has spilled into the water - but it quite likely. We will know in the next day or two the outcome of the testing and what courses of action will need to be taken. The potential of heavy rain tomorrow will impact any clean-up that may need to happen.The oily slick has currently come to rest in about a 12 inch swath that runs along about 400 feet of shoreline. If the substance turns out to be inert and harmless we will be able to return to swimming, but until we find out, swimming is out of the question. Until then we will be coming up with other "watery" alternatives - it is supposed to rain tomorrow - which will give us the opportunity for some outdoor games in the rain.

I will post an update once we have more information, for now please keep this as a matter of prayer. Prayer for the campers, that they will not be overly discouraged by the lack of swimming, for the camp property that this toxin will not have lasting impact to our beach and for our neighbour, as I'm sure this is a matter of great concern for him as well.

The waterfront is a vital part of the summer camping ministry. It is important to remember that God is sovereign and has a purpose in this event, so we are content to continue to serve Him through it. God does not require a beach for His Gospel to be made clear... although we would certainly enjoy having it back if He sees fit.

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