British Columbia

Gorge Creek sewage contamination was from a septic tank, tests suggest

Gorge Swim Fest was cancelled on Sunday when sewage was discovered in the Esquimalt, B.C., creek

gorge swim cancelled

The Township of Esquimalt says the sewage that forced the cancellation of the Gorge Swim Fest on Sunday was likely the contents of a septic tank dumped into a storm drain. (Rob Wickson)


Sewage that forced the cancellation of the Gorge Swim Fest in Victoria on Sunday was from the contents of a septic tank dumped into a storm drain, test results suggest.

The sewage was found in a tributary of Gorge Creek in Esquimalt, B.C., just outside of Victoria. The Township of Esquilmalt says tests found E. coli in the water, as well as a disinfecting chemical, which suggests the sewage may have come from a truck that cleans septic tanks.

"I would think they would know better, but for whatever reason chose not to pursue the proper course," said Jeff Miller, Esquimalt's director of engineering and public works.

The township has been unable to pinpoint exactly where the sewage entered the creek, but Miller said the Gorge Waterway  — much of which is in Victoria — is safe for swimming again.

Swim Fest rescheduling unlikely

The sewage lead to the cancellation of the sixth annual Gorge Swim Fest when it was detected on Sunday.

Organizer Jack Meredith says his team is discussing the possibility of rescheduling the event, but the amount of volunteer work that would entail makes it unlikely.

Meredith said he's disappointed someone would be so careless.

"It certainly highlights how fragile our ecosystems are, particularly something like the Gorge or any of the lakes and creeks," he said.

With files from Megan Thomas.

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