hand in water' The Veins of Life
Watershed Society


Hello! We are the Saanich Dye Test E-Team from the Veins of Life Watershed Society. 

Our team has two immediate goals. We want to locate all cross-connections between the sanitary and storm sewers in the Dysart catchment area and in the neighbourhoods adjacent to the Gorge, west of Tillicum Road. 

We also want to encourage residents along the Gorge to become environmental stewards. 

Left to Right (Top) Aaron Hurlburt, MR.ia Moulton, David Major, Michael Stevens
(Bottom) Pascal Stokes, Sarah Badesso

The Dysart catchment area encompasses all the homes that drain into the sanitary sewer pump station at the north end of Dysart Road, adjacent to the estuary of Colquitz Creek. Longer term, we strive towards re-establishing the Gorge waterway as a recreation hotspot for local residents! With continued community co-operation this will soon be a reality.

The main challenge the Dysart Catchment sanitary sewers faces is from freshwater that is entering the sanitary system after heavy rainfall; this has caused raw sewage, also unscreened, to overflow from the local Dysart pump station into Colquitz Creek once one of Victoria's most productive salmon streams.

In other neighbourhoods adjacent to the Gorge Waterway, freshwater entering the sanitary sewer threatens marine water quality. There are many pump stations along the Gorge that help lift sewage over hills on its journey to the Macauley Point deep-sea outfall. These pumps normally operate without incident. However, during power outages, which often coincide with heavy winter storms, those pumps without back-up power may temporarily be out of operation. It is at these times that the pump stations are most vulnerable to overflowing into the Gorge, and any rainwater in the sanitary system will further stress the system.

By detecting and correcting cross-connections between the storm and sanitary sewers, water quality in the Gorge will greatly improve.

What is a "cross-connection"?

A cross-connection occurs between sanitary (sewer) lines and storm drain lines.  The term inflow and infiltration is used to describe the sources of connection to either the sanitary or the storm lines.  Freshwater may enter the sanitary lines through infiltration from accidental connections to the storm lines. In more severe and troublesome cases, there may be infiltration of sewage from sanitary to the storm drain lines.  Inflow describes the seepage of groundwater into sanitary and storm lines through breeches in the piping. 

How are cross connections detected?

Dye testing is a simple method of detecting cross-connections. During dye testing, members of our Saanich team go door-to-door and flush a non-toxic biodegradable dye tablet down all toilets, laundry facilities, and storm drains. Other team members are posted at nearby manholes where they watch for the dye to appear in the correct line or drain. Another method to detect cross-connections is Smoke Testing.

-Join us for a day of Dye Testing!



© 2009 Veins of Life Watershed Society / All Rights Reserved / if you wish to use any info for commercial or non commercial usage you must obtain permissions from The Veins of Life Watershed Society