Sewage Pollution

Municipal sewage

  • Municipal sewage contains up to 70,000 manmade chemicals many of them are toxic. These toxins are not removed through the minimal sewage treatment many B.C. municipalities employ.
  • Metro Vancouver’s largest outfall has only primary treatment - settling ponds remove most solids, but the remaining toxic brew goes directly into Georgia Strait.
  • Greater Victoria dumps its sewage raw and untreated into the ocean as do three other coastal municipalities: Tofino, Masset and Prince Rupert.
  • Sewage dumped in rivers or in the ocean uses up oxygen as it decomposes, suffocating fish at high discharge levels. Deformed oyster and clam shells regularly wash up on beaches near sewage outfalls.
  • Sub-lethal impacts, such as tumours found on bottom fish near outfalls, are hardest to detect but just as deadly over the long term.
  • There is increasing evidence that hormones are disrupted by toxins in sewage, affecting juvenile salmon as they acclimatize to salt water. Immune systems are compromised and reproductive systems can be damaged.
  • Greater Victoria is still the largest single raw sewage source in B.C. But public sentiment has changed drastically in favour of proper sewage treatment due in part to a successful campaign by TBSEF and Georgia Strait Alliance.

TBSEF supports alternatives to conventional treatment systems that focus on attaining value by recycling the resources in the waste streams.