ADOPT-AN-OUTFALL IN THE COMMUNITY
Testing By Local Citizens
A small group of concerned citizens and their children meet at this site on a bimonthly basis. Each participant has a role. One adult opens a kitcontaining an array of bottles and coloured liquids. A child carefully counts the number of drops of a chemical reagent placed in a test tube while his parents attentively look on. Others participants scope the surrounding area and take notes about its condition. These individuals are performing standard water quality tests to determine whether the water that flows into their neighbourhood creek is up to par with environmental and health standards.
These dedicated citizens are members of the Gorge-Tillicum Community Association. Their interest in water quality issues has led them to the Veins of Life Watershed Society (VOLWS). VOLWS offers an education program called Adopt-an-Outfall aimed at monitoring the quality of storm water flowing from local outfalls. The Adopt-an-Outfall program is available to community and school groups and provides an avenue for citizens to partake in watershed stewardship. Raising awareness about our storm drain system and the impact of non point source pollution on water are the main objectives of the program. Non point source pollution comes from many different sources. For example, urban storm water runoff picks up many pollutants as it flows over our streets into the storm drain.
Currently, there are several groups that deserve recognition for their commitment to the Adopt-an-Outfall program. Click here to see a Gallery of photos from these programs. The Gorge-Tillicum Community Association (GTCA) began their monitoring in the spring of 2000 and has since grown in numbers. Led by Anne Genuist, Steve Legg, and Jack Sante, the group represents a diverse mix of people working together as water stewards. They focus their efforts on outfalls located along the Gorge waterway, Colquitz River, and by the Tillicum Mall. High school students belonging to the Escape Club at Esquimalt Secondary, and the Sea Scouts and Venturers are Adopt-an-Outfall‘s younger participants ranging from 11 to 18 years of age.
shy? On a biweekly or monthly basis, take a stroll along the waterfront
or streamside to your appointed outfall. Conduct a quick survey of the
area noting any abnormalities, a level reading of temperature, pH, Dissolved
Oxygen, Turbidity, and visual and odour observations. The total
monitoring procedure takes about 30 minutes. If the responsibility
is divided among a group of five, it would mean a trip every couple
of months. Your group determines the level of commitment by deciding
on the frequency of visits and number of outfalls.
is also a great opportunity for teachers to demonstrate to students
that perseverance and commitment is what it takes to make a difference.
Too often, we take the initiative for a day to help out with a cause
without realizing that the difference is made with a conscious effort
on a consistent basis. Prevention rather than remediation is key
here. As well, students have an opportunity to investigate patterns
over a long run, raising questions to differences in results, and exercising
their critical thinking skills to graph, chart, and summarize data over
Non point source pollution is a collective problem that requires a collective effort. Becoming aware how our daily actions affect the quality of water entering the storm drain systems and flowing to our creeks and coastlines is a little change that goes a long way.
Last Updated: August 2007