Residents from across the Greater Victoria area rallied in support of the Gorge Waterway in July, after a suspected sewage spill cancelled the Gorge Swim Fest. Esquimalt Engineering and Public Works say they’ve now located the source of the contamination. File photo

Esquimalt crews find source of Gorge Creek contamination

Area will continue to be monitored for leaks over next several weeks

Esquimalt engineering and public works finally has an answer for the source of the Gorge Creek contamination that cancelled the annual Gorge Swim Fest earlier this year.

The source has been pinpointed to the upper end of the system, where wastewater and sewer pipes were cross connected. The wastewater, intended for sewer pipes, was inadvertently directed through storm water pipes, causing contamination to Gorge Creek first reported July 29.

RELATED: Gorge Swim Fest cancelled due to sewage spill

Jeff Miller, director of engineering and public works in Esquimalt, said a crew has been working their way back through the system checking main lines.

“We’re checking our records to get an idea as to when those services and those mains were put in,” he said. “Assuming it’s some older pipe, both were very similar to nature and colour, so it could have easily been connected to the wrong main.”

RELATED: Vic West resident finds Gorge Waterway a calming influence

The Township of Esquimalt is working with the property owner where the source is located, and results conducted by an investigation show levels of contamination have dropped significantly. The inquiry conducted by Island Health, the CRD and the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change will continue monitoring storm water over the course of the next few weeks.

“You can go into the Gorge proper now,” Miller said. “The creek is also decreasing, and we’re going to monitor it to the seasonal levels that we expect.”

In the meantime, residents are advised to be mindful of the materials they’re disposing of. These items eventually find their way to local bodies of water, creating a negative impact on the water, shoreline and marine wildlife.

Residents are also reminded to report any spills onto roads or into waterways immediately, notifying the Provincial Spill Line at 1-800-663-3456.

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