Heavy rain prompts health advisories at capital’s outfalls

Health advisory warnings were posted on local beaches around outfalls throughout Greater Victoria on Monday morning as stormwater and sewage overflowed into the ocean due to heavy rain.

The affected areas extended from Finnerty Cove near Queenswood Drive in Saanich to Clover Point on Dallas Road in Victoria, and McLoughlin Point, east of Saxe Point, in Esquimalt.

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The sewage is some areas is unscreened and there’s the potential for “floatables” including plastics washing up on local beaches, said Ted Robbins, general manager for CRD integrated water services

The Capital Regional District posted the signs between 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. and issued a public service announcement advising residents to avoid wading in the waters along these shorelines, “as the wastewater may pose a health risk.”

“At a couple of locations, we do have unscreened discharges,” said Robbins. “There is that potential for materials to wash up on the shore especially in unscreened sections.”

The sewage, however, is diluted by about 90 per cent stormwater, said Robbins.

Signs have been posted as a precautionary measure and will likely remain erected “at least the next couple of days,” said Robbins.

When the rain subsides, the CRD’s water quality department will collect samples in the affected areas in consultation with Island Health and local municipalities. That sampling process involves a 24-hour turn-around said Robbins.

If the samples show enterococci levels below the recreational limit of 70 colony-forming units per 100 milliliters, the signs will be lifted.

The last time such advisory signs were posted on local beaches because of storm and wastewater overflows due to heavy rains was on Nov. 12.


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