Storm Water Overflow May Pose Health Risk on Eastern Shoreline of Saanich, Oak Bay & Victoria

Jan 07, 2009

Victoria, BC –  A month of inclement weather, combined with snowmelt and heavy rainfalls, is currently resulting in storm water overflows on the Eastern shoreline of Greater Victoria.

Wastewater (sewage), heavily diluted by storm water, is now flowing into the ocean at several outfalls in this area. The area affected runs from Finnerty Point, near Queenswood, to Clover Point, on Dallas Road. Residents are advised to avoid swimming or wading in waters along the eastern coastline.

“Anything that is flushed down toilets may end up along our shore as a result of the storm event,” said Dr. Richard Stanwick, Chief Medical Health Officer, Vancouver Island Health Authority. “These discharges of human waste are of public health concern. Appropriate signs are being posted, and will remain in place as long as the risk persists.”

“Storm water overflows are being caused by heavy rains combined with fast melting snow, a weather combination that poses challenges for the region’s sewer infrastructure,” said Larisa Hutcheson, Environmental Services Senior Manager of Operations and Local Services.

Storm water overflows are caused by inflow and infiltration (I&I), which is rainwater and groundwater that enters the sanitary sewer. A certain amount of I&I is unavoidable and is accounted for in routine sewer design. However, when I&I exceeds normal amounts, during storm events, sewer capacity is overwhelmed and may result in overflows. The Eastern shoreline is especially prone to I&I because of older sewer infrastructure.

- 30 -

For further information please contact:
Sheila Taylor, Manager, Community Relations
Corporate Communications, CRD
Tel: 250.360.3308
Cell: 250.216.4427

Moira McLean
VIHA Communications,
Tel: 250.370.8908