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The Columbia Journal
P.O. Box 2633 MPO,
Vancouver, British Columbia,
Canada V6B 3W8
Phone: 604-266-6552
Fax: 604-267-3342
ISSN 1712-3763
Web: www.columbiajournal.ca

This issue:

Public Affairs

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Columbia Journal logoVolume Ten, Number One   January 2005   www.columbiajournal.ca

    High False Creek coliform count underscores need for better sewage treatment

    CPP News Service

    A Vancouver Health Authority has again cautioned boaters in False Creek once again raises the issue of inadequate control of sewage flowing into local waters, say local urban ecologists.
    Recent monitoring shows that fecal counts bacteria in the East Basin of Vancouver’s False Creek exceed safe levels for recreational use, claims the Society Promoting Environmental Conservation. Beaches are closed when coliform hits 200 parts per million. Counts in False Creek have been recorded in the 1,040 range.

    Coliform enters False Creek from old combined sewer outfalls (CSO) that allow raw sewage to mix with runoff during periods of high rainfall. Health authorities are warning dragon-boaters and others to exercise caution when using the area.

    ”These high coliform counts once again point out the inadequacy of the region’s Liquid Waste Management Plan,” said SPEC coordinator Ivan Bulic. “The current Plan does not call for the conversion of the CSOs until 2070. It is unreasonable to expect the residents of one of the Greater Vancouver Regional District’s fastest growing neighbourhoods to wait 65 years before the hazard of contaminated water is dealt with. That is simply too long to continue pumping raw sewage into False Creek.”

    The presence of coliform bacteria in aquatic environments indicates that the water has been contaminated with human or animal fecal material. Source water may also be contaminated by pathogens or disease producing bacteria, including typhoid fever, viral and bacterial gastroenteritis and hepatitis A. The presence of fecal contamination is an indicator that a potential health risk exists for individuals exposed to this water.

    In 2001 SPEC advised the GVRD, the City of Vancouver and the Provincial Government to amend the GVRD’s Liquid Waste Management Plan to speed up the conversion of the region’s CSOs.

    The Provincial Government, however, approved the un-amended sewage treatment plan in early 2002.

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