Victoria BC, Canada is a beautiful city located on southern Vancouver Island. It is also the capital city for the province. It is set next to Juan de Fuca Strait and on a clear day you can see the mountains of the Olympic Peninsula and across to Port Townsend in the US.
This small city of over 350 000 people is home to the provincial museum, the provincial legislature buildings and that old dowager of a hotel, the Empress. The University of Victoria is a vibrant public centre of learning. Many old houses lend an aura of wealth and substance. Unique shops cater to the whims of tourists.
Tourism is the biggest industry in Victoria.
Come to visit, spend money while you are here but don’t flush the toilets. The raw, untreated sewage is flushed into the ocean. The only treatment that our capital city does is to filter out the biggest pieces and truck those to a local landfill. Calling them biosolids rather than poop makes everything sound better.
The Americans just across the Strait have called “shame” more than once about Victoria’s dirty habits. Environmental groups periodically agitate for Victoria to clean up its sewage. Victorians and their politicians deny that there is a problem as they filter out anything greater than 6 mm(about ¼ inch) to dump that in a landfill. The politicians maintain that the deep water outlets and the cold water as well as the swift currents in the area constitute an engineered solution that endangers neither the environment nor the people. The untreated effluent estimated to be around 129 million litres per day will still contain bacteria, viruses, soluble medications, heavy metals, residue from various industrial processes.
While the paper defending the discharge of untreated, filtered sewage into the water shared by two countries states that this solution has worked for 30 years, untreated sewage was going into the water at Clover Point in the mid-sixties. It was well known that it was an area that divers stayed away from even then. The change is the filtering of the larger particles.
Victoria is a pretty face hiding a dirty secret.