More than 1,000 fish have been killed following a chlorine contamination incident in one of the last salmon-bearing streams in Vancouver.

CBC News learned Friday that the kill occurred in late September when a residential swimming pool a south Vancouver was drained into a storm sewer, literally bleaching salmon, trout, and other marine life in a stream that flows through the Musqueam Indian Reserve.

Aboriginal fisheries officer Willard Sparrow said he and a partner stumbled onto the "kill zone" after spotting a clear liquid being discharged into Musqueam Creek.

"There was clear liquid coming out of here, that smelled of a heavy chlorine smell and upon our approach we saw some fish that were belly up," Sparrow said.

Sparrow said a contractor doing work on the swimming pool didn’t realize the storm sewer went directly into the creek.


Aboriginal fisheries officer Willard Sparrow says the contamination set back years of restoration work on the creek. (CBC)

"What we found really bizarre is that the fish were bleached," he said.

Sparrow said the incident is especially regrettable because the Musqueam and many volunteers have spent years restoring the creek.

"It kind of felt like somebody burnt my church down. That's how important this system is to me. It's culturally important. It's culturally who I am," said Sparrow..

Three spawning coho salmon were also killed.

Sparrow is worried that if there isn’t rain soon to flush out the creek out, other coho and chum salmon waiting to come upstream will meet the same fate.

The Musqueam are now passing out flyers to residents to try to stop any further pollution.


With files from the CBC's Emily Elias and Terry Donnelly