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Sewer-line break closes beach area

By Times Colonist Staff June 18, 2001

A late night pipeline burst at the Mount Douglas sewer lift station has caused the closure of the Mount Douglas Park beach area and Douglas Creek. Sewage from the break leaked into an overflow pipe, entering the lower portion of Douglas Creek that flows across the beach and into the ocean.

The broken line leaked sewage for about two and a half hours Saturday night, according to Gary Gibson, the chief environmental health officer for the Capital Health Region.

"The public works people I spoke with figure they lost only about 10 per cent of the normal flow," said Gibson. "No solids, just liquid escaped."

Dr. Richard Stanwick, the chief medical officer for the CHR, is encouraging people to stay away from the area.

"One of our environmental health officers inspected the site and he said that the creek, in fact, was a dirty colour and suspects that there definitely was some sewage affluent that entered the creek," said Stanwick. "This is why we are taking precautions and closing it until tests come back. We basically want to make sure that people are not put at risk."

The CHR has posted signs in the area and the lower portion of the creek Monday to see what the bacteriological counts are," said Gibson. "We're concerned with increased fecal chloroforms counts in the area. We'll leave the advisory in place and the signs posted until we get satisfactory counts back."

The beach and creek will likely be closed for up to a week unless weather conditions such as rain help flush out the area.

Saanich Public Works department was unavailable for comment.



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