Blame the coliform count for that. It is higher than last year at the same time, which is not too unusual (there is always variability).
What may be unusual is that the Vancouver Sun decided to make it front page news. I applaud that, as it helps with public education and does put pressure on our elected leaders. But it’s not news: the fecal indicators come largely from combined sewer overflows, as it has for decades. Writes Susan Lazaruk:
“The reason for contamination can vary widely,” said health authority spokesman Matt Kieltyka in an email. “Rain is often a factor contributing to beach water pollution,” because heavy rain overwhelms sewers and forces water into waterways.
“The lack of tidal flush in certain areas, increased human and animal activity and hot weather, which can speed up bacterial growth, are also possible causes,” he said.
False Creek is home to several marinas and moored visiting boats, that sometimes pump raw sewage into the creek.
Not that many people swim in False Creek, granted. But this is an issue for kayakers, dragon-boaters, paddle-boarders, surf-sailors, and anyone who risks tipping into the water out of an excess of enthusiasm. And it is also an issue for marine mammals who may be vulnerable to human diseases.
The depressing part is that we’ve had this issue for decades. But it is encouraging to see that there may finally be less complacency about it.