Environment Canada predicts little rain this weekend, offering a much-needed break for local infrastructure.
Residents are advised to avoid swimming or wading in waters in Oak Bay after more than 40 mm of rain that fell in Greater Victoria Jan. 4 and 5 resulted in overflows along the shoreline.
Outfalls were flowing heavily diluted sewage into waters from Finnerty Point near Queenswood to Clover Point on Dallas Road, and from McLoughlin Point west to Saxe Point in Esquimalt.
Two scenarios cause overflows, says Cam Preece, CRD manager of core area operations. One is where a combined sewer and stormwater system get overwhelmed. What happened this week was the other, where older pipes and prolonged rainfall results in storm water infiltrating the sewer systems.
“[With a] short two or three-hour significant rainfall you wouldn’t see the overflows we had,” said Preece.
Rarely are affected areas so widespread.
Capital Regional District water quality officials expected results after the News deadline from samples sent to the lab Monday. As a precaution and in consultation with Island Health and the local municipalities, beaches within the affected areas are posted with public health advisory signs until sample results indicate otherwise.
“I would suspect by the end of the week we’re all clear, speaking from experience,” Preece said.
Signs were not posted at Cadboro Bay beach in Saanich because water there is already under an Island Health advisory instated in October as a result of high bacterial results due to sewage discharge. Warning signage, in place at the high-traffic Clover Point and Saxe Point parks will be removed once the enterococci levels are below the 70CFU/100mL recreational limit. Updated advisories would be posted online at crd.bc.ca.