hand in water' The Veins of Life
Watershed Society


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 municipalities.

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 lines. 

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 Testing Program

This non-point source pollution prevention project is one component of the Veins of Life South Island pollution prevention and watershed renewal program. 

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 Harbours.

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.

© 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