Protect Community Waters From Raw Sewage

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Target: Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps, chairperson of the Core Area Liquid Waste Management Committee

Goal: Prevent the dumping of raw sewage into sensitive aquatic ecosystems.

The City of Victoria, BC dumps over thirty-four million gallons of raw sewage into the Strait of Juan de Fuca each day. This has continued since 1894, harming marine life and humans alike. Currently, Victoria is considering opening a new wastewater treatment plant and ending over one hundred years of contamination.

Victoria, BC is the only major city on the west coast lacking a wastewater treatment plant, posing obvious risks to its marine ecosystems and to surroundings communities, who use the waters around it for food and recreation. The communities affected include cities and towns on both sides of the Canadian/U.S. border. The sewage is toxic to water fleas, blue mussel larvae, rainbow trout fry, and oyster larvae. Fish toxicity tests showed that fish could not survive for more than twenty minutes in Victoria sewage.

Eating shellfish, such as oysters or muscles, contaminated by sewage can result in viruses such as Hepatitis A and norovirus. Swimming in water exposed to sewage can also be harmful, causing illnesses such as hepatitis, skin and eye infections, and gastroenteritis.

Over the past twenty years, there have been numerous attempts to stop Victoria from dumping its raw sewage. Most recently, Washington representative Jeff Morris suggested a ban on state government employee travel to Victoria to bring attention to this issue. In 2014, Victoria planned to implement a new sewage treatment facility, but those plans fell through due to a zoning issue.  The city now faces a federal deadline of 2020 to open a new facility.

Join me in urging City of Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps to continue her support for the project and ensure that it does not become another failed attempt. Victoria needs a sewage treatment facility. It is time, literally and metaphorically, for the City of Victoria to clean up its mess.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mayor Helps,

The City of Victoria’s plans to build a new sewage treatment facility must go forward. At present, Victoria discharges 34 million gallons of raw sewage into the Strait of Juan de Fuca every day, damaging marine ecosystems while endangering local communities.

Not only is this discharge harmful to marine life, such as blue muscle and oyster larvae, it puts the humans who consume them at risk of illnesses like Hepatitis A and norovirus. As a result of the damage caused by raw sewage, Victoria now has a federal deadline of 2020 to open a secondary sewage treatment plant.

I urge you to honor that deadline by cleaning up the waters that sustain aquatic life and the surrounding human communities. Please don’t let plans for this new facility fall through, as did the 2014 plans.  Continue your support for the new facility and you will see a brighter, cleaner, city.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Andrew Beierle

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