|For three years, the Veins of Life Watershed Society has worked
to improve water quality in the Gorge waterway of Victoria, BC,
by identifying improper connections and infrastructure decay in
the sanitary and stormdrain systems. This pollution prevention program
is made possible by support from the Department of Fisheries and
Oceans; the Ministry of Environment, Lands & Parks; and participating
About wastewater and stormwater disposal in
the Capital Regional District
(Greater Victoria, Vancouver, BC)
In many municipalities of the Capital Regional District, sanitary
sewer and stormwater lines run side-by-side. In this situation,
overflows of sanitary waste into stormwater drains, and of stormwater
into sanitary sewers, can easily result from blockages, infrastructure
decays, or large percipitation events.
The Veins of Life Watershed Society works with the munipalities
to identify acute problem areas, and to encourage sewer upgrades.
VOLWS also works to identify instances in which residential sewer
systems are improperly connected (cross-connected) to municipal
The efforts of VOLWS have helped contribute to the steadily improving
water quality in the Gorge waterway. Water quality tests performed
by the Capital Regional District indicate that the Gorge water
is safe for swimming throughout much of the year.
About the 1999-2000 Sanitary & Stormdrain
This non-point source pollution prevention project is one component
of the Veins of Life South Island pollution prevention and watershed
The program expands on the work of our 1998-99 project to address
the priorities of community watershed stewardship, pollution prevention,
conservation, habitat restoration, public awareness and education,
and long-range planning and sustaining of these stewardship initiatives.
The non-point source pollution prevention project involves one
dye test team assigned to each of three municipalities (Saanich,
Esquimalt and Victoria). The objective of the dye test teams
is to reduce the incidence of spills, biological and industrial
contamination in the Gorge waterway and Victoria and Esquimalt
The teams meet this objective by visiting homes and placing a
biodegrable dye in toilets, laundry facilities, and perimeter
drains. The teams are then able to track the flow of water through
the sanitary or storm sewer, and observe if the residence is properly
connected to the sanitary and stormdrain infrastucture.
If the dye-testing indicates a possible cross-connection, the
teams notify the appropriate municipality. Municipal staff can
then confirm the test results, and correct any improper connections.