Recreational Water Quality in the Alberni Inlet

Recreational Water Quality in the Alberni Inlet

PORT ALBERNI, British Columbia, Canada – As a result of previous concerns related to recreational water quality in Port Alberni, the City, in coordination with the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) and Island Health, have been testing specific areas of the Alberni Inlet.

Water samples from Somass Dam, Polly’s Point, Canal Waterfront Park and Victoria Quay were recently submitted by FNHA to Island Health for analysis. Results indicate that Enterococci bacteria levels, more commonly known as E. coli, at Somass Dam, Polly’s Point and Canal Waterfront Park are considered “safe” for recreational water activities. The sample collected from Victoria Quay (at the base of Johnston Road) greatly exceeded the acceptable limit.

With this knowledge and as stewards of the environment, the City of Port Alberni inspected its storm and sewer infrastructure in the area to ensure there were no failures. On July 31, 2019, City crews conducted visual inspections of neighbouring forcemains (while pressurized) and stormwater discharge points at Victoria Quay and noted there were no visual indicators of failure. Indicators would include bubbling at the surface, strong odours and the presence of human waste floating on the surface. The City also reviewed previous samples taken from the wastewater treatment outfall, which showed no abnormalities in effluent discharge.

The City has since taken additional samples from Victoria Quay for analysis and will continue to work closely with FNHA and Island Health to compare results and determine next steps if required.

While the samples taken at Canal Waterfront Park by the FNHA indicate that levels have normalized and are well within acceptable standards for recreational use, the swimming advisory remains in effect. Samples will continue to be submitted by the City regularly until Island Health is satisfied and lifts the advisory. At that time, the City will communicate to the public that the advisory has been lifted.

Tim Pley, CAO
City of Port Alberni

Thursday, August 1, 2019