A private dock in Brentwood Bay. (Hugo Wong/News Staff)

Community group wants source of pollution in Brentwood Bay found

Boat owners’ group tested the bay for contamination in May

A Brentwood Bay community group is sounding the alarm over contamination they say they’ve discovered in the bay.

Members of the Brentwood Bay Marine Community Society say they took samples of the water in four areas of the bay on May 8 and had them tested by MB Labs in Sidney. The results, they say, show levels of pollution “higher than acceptable for safe recreational use.”

Society member John Evans was one of the people who took samples from out in Saanich Inlet and then from three areas within Brentwood Bay, close to shore. He said their sample taken at Keane Way Beach, south of the ferry terminal, showed elevated levels of enterococcus — a bacteria found in human intestines and is an indicator, according to Island Health, of fecal contamination in salt water.

RELATED: Brentwood Bay cleanup takes major step forward.

Evans said their sample showed 74 milligrams of enterococcus per 100 millilitres of water, and claimed that such a reading “is sufficient to be investigated.”

He’s asking either Island Health or the District of Central Saanich to find out the source of the contamination. Evans added there is a municipal sewage pumping station and an inter tidal sewage manhole at the site.

“Does it leak? We don’t know, but there is a problem there,” he said.

Island Heath tests water at beaches throughout the South Island, including the Saanich Inlet. Their public beach report for testing done May 22, 2018 indicates low enterococci levels at testing spots at Clarke Road and Stelly’s Cross Road. The Inlet is currently deemed by Island Health as “microbiologically safe to swim.”

Evans said the beach, while apparently not classified as a recreational beach by the District, does get its fair share of users. He added so far the District has not responded for the Society’s call to look into the contamination, so they have been in contact with Island Health. So far, however, Evans said there’s been little action.

Meribeth Burton, Island Health manager of media relations, said Island Health staff have been to two of the same sites the Society has tested, but have come away with different results.

She said enterococcus levels between 35 and 175 mg per 100 ml would instigate an investigation — so the Society’s 74 might indicate something was present at the time the test was done. However, she said after conferring with the CRD, which also conducts tests in the area, the results are different and the bay is currently considered safe.

Central Saanich Mayor Ryan Windsor said the municipality would be happy to work with any group reporting potential pollution in the bay — but noted the District has not yet received any information from the Society. Windsor said he is aware that the Society did some testing and hopes they share it, so that staff can investigate.

“One test, done one time, in one place might indicate something,” he said, “so, it’s hard to comment. We need to know more about it.”

Windsor said the District will work with any concerned citizen or group if there’s a concern of contamination in Brentwood Bay or the Saanich Inlet. He said they and other agencies — like Island Health and the Capital Regional District, both of which do regular water testing — need to see the information, check the work done and even investigate the area themselves to see if it’s a recurring issue.

In a statement from the Society, they noted they asked the District council last fall to approve testing for contamination in the bay. They stated when nothing was done, they decided to do it themselves, following the guidelines set out by MB Labs.

The move was borne out of a political response to the District, after the Society formed in opposition to the municipality’s plan to obtain a license of occupation from the provincial government for Brentwood Bay. Central Saanich is after that license to help deal with the problem of derelict vessels and pollution caused by boats in that body of water.

RELATED: Brentwood Bay boaters challenge the District for the bay.

The Society disputes that source of contamination, claiming it’s more likely to be coming from land-based sources, and have indicated they will try to beat the District to the punch and get the occupation license first.



editor@peninsulanewsreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Greater Victoria woman goes on gratitude mission to thank first responders

Jen Klein fainted while driving and crashed on Pat Bay Highway in 2019

View Royal fire chief calls for realistic solutions to ‘mess’ at Thetis Lake

Emergency crews harassed while extinguishing brush fire, rescuing drunk 15-year-old during long weekend calls

Saanich police search for potential victims, witnesses after series of unprovoked assaults

Police are looking for more information about two incidents from June 12

Crews respond to medical incident on West Saanich Road

Incident appears to be cleared, witnesses say

Non-venomous ball python missing in Vic West

Snake was reported missing to Victoria police Tuesday morning

B.C. records 146 new COVID-19 cases through long weekend

More that 28 people tested positive for the virus each day since Friday

Canucks tame Minnesota Wild 4-3 to even NHL qualifying series

J.T. Miller leads Vancouver with goal and an assist

COVID-19 vaccine efforts provide hope but no silver bullet to stop pandemic: Tam

There are more than two dozen vaccines for COVID-19 in clinical trials around the world

Two people die in propane heated outdoor shower near Princeton

Couple was attending a long weekend gathering

Study shines light on what makes LGBTQ+ youth feel safe in a community

The study goes beyond looking at school or family supports

Alberta to require masks at schools this fall, but still no mandate in B.C.

B.C. students are also set to return to classrooms in September

B.C. to allow customers to buy cannabis online for in-store pickup at private shops

Age verification will still be required inside the store

30% of British Columbians would ‘wait and see’ before taking COVID vaccine: poll

Some are concerned about side effects, while others don’t think the virus is a big deal

Most Read