Rock Bay has been listed by the CRD as having moderate public health concerns and high levels of environmental contaminants. Health concerns can be attributed to excessively high levels of fecal coliforms. Levels higher than 200 FC/100mL are considered dangerous. Rock Bay outfalls have had readings as high as 66000 FC/100mL. Environmental concerns include high levels of contaminants such as heavy metals, mercury, zinc and PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons).
The Rock Bay project is following closely in suit with that of the Cecelia Creek Project. In 1996 Veins of Life Watershed Society (VOLWS) in conjunction with the Burnside Gorge Community Association and others, brought to light the water pollution problems at Cecelia Creek and began taking action to find a solution. The initial stage of the project surveyed businesses in the Cecelia Creek catchment area.
The objective of the survey was primarily to educate business owners on sound practices and develop a positive repore - but also to determine the origins of Non-Point Source Pollutants that were being washed into the Gorge waterway via stormdrain outfalls. Businesses were surveyed on their product use, product disposal/recycling methods, and on the amount of impervious surface area on individual properties. Impervious surface area has a strong positive correlation to the concentration of pollutants in urban runoff during flash floods.
This information was then collated and studied by the Burnside Gorge Community Association in order to create Best Management Practices (BMP). The survey area consisted predominately of automotive related businesses, thus the BMP's were very specific in nature to this type of business activity. BMP's were created for Auto Detailing shops, Dealerships, Auto body shops, Service stations, Repair shops, Car washes and Auto Recyclers.
As no two catchment areas are home to exactly the same business types it is important to get a clear picture of the area in question. It is equally important to educate business owners on important - yet common sense - environmental practices around the shop. BMP's are most effective when constructed with specific businesses in mind.
For these reasons VOLWS has now decided to focus its efforts on the two catchment areas feeding the two outfalls at Rock Bay (see photos). VOLWS is now in stage 1 of the Rock Bay project. As with Cecelia Creek, stage one will again consist of a door to door survey campaign. Each business listed by the CRD as having potential moderate to heavy contaminant contribution in the urban runoff will be visited. At the end of the summer the survey will be complete and the task of analysis will begin, with a final goal of creating a comprehensive report. The report can then be used as a reference tool and for the creation of BMP's specific to catchments 626 and 627.
Storm Sewer Contaminant Sampling, Source Tracing & Reduction Study in Victoria & Esquimalt Harbour. Project No. 35967-02. Reid Crowther & Partners Ltd.,Victoria, 1998.
Photos from Veins of Life Watershed Society.
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