The Columbia Journal
P.O. Box 2633 MPO,
Vancouver, British Columbia,
Canada V6B 3W8
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
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.