A McKenzie Interchange worker assesses the runoff entering the Colquitz River.

Heavy rains, broken drain threaten Colquitz fish

Unknown Environmental Hazard at the McKenzie interchange

Heavy rains, the unearthing of an unknown pipe, and construction at the McKenzie interchange project caused a large amount of unfiltered sediment to flow into the Colquitz River this week.

The sediment is a threat to the annual spawning run for Coho and other salmon in the Colquitz right now.

Dorothy Chambers toured the site with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and Jacob Bros. on Friday. She was supposed to tour the project, but instead the tour focused on the sediment runoff.

“It’s my understanding that one of the filtration pumps broke after a flood from the broken pipe,” Chambers said. “The sediment is a concern as the spawning salmon are in the Colquitz right this minute.”

The pipe, likely a storm drain, was broken during construction at the corner of the intersection closest to St. Joseph’s church and school. It was initially discharging clear water but since Wednesday it has been discharging sediment. The construction team, Jacob Bros., has placed several filtration systems to keep sediment from flowing into the Colquitz. However, it’s too much water and it is flowing directly down the hill to the river.

The sediment bloom of clay and dirt clouds the river and attaches to the gills of the fish and suffocates them, she added.

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure released a statement saying “the project sediment and erosion control system was working as intended however, after a recent heavy rain, a large volume of sediment-filled water flowed into the site, overwhelming the project’s protection system.”

The source of the water is identified as coming from an old pipe which didn’t show up on any of Saanich’s maps. The pipe initially had clear water coming from it when it was unearthed by crews.

“Immediate steps were taken to capture this runoff water to ensure all water leaving the site is clear and not causing any environmental concerns.”

The area is still being closely monitored, while Saanich Engineering are attempting to find the source of the pipe, said Harley Machielse, director of Saanich Engineering.

“It appears to be a storm drain, and there’s already a storm drain that enters that area, which adds to the difficulties they’re facing,” Machielse said. “We’re collaborating and providing assistance as best we can to we’re working to identify the source of the pipe.”

The unidentified pipe could be anything, an abandoned municipal pipe or one that was previously on private property.

reporter@saanichnews.com

 

 

Just Posted

International Astronomy Day lands in Victoria

Activities run April 27 at the Royal B.C. Museum and Observatory Hill

Gardeners can stock up for spring at Saanich’s Horticulture Centre of the Pacific

Spring Plant Sale runs April 27 and 28 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Harbour of Hope reaches $100k fundraising goal to help refugee families

Organization aims to cover the families’ living expenses for a year and beyond

French for the Future event to host 300 students in Victoria

Victoria event welcomes students from Greater Victoria and Vancouver

VIDEO: Large dust devil swirls through town in B.C.’s interior

Residents look on as column climbs about 90 feet into the air

Wanted by Crime Stoppers

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Do you think the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris should be rebuilt?

Images of one of the word’s most iconic landmarks were seared into… Continue reading

Blaine, Wash. inn owner, charged with smuggling people into B.C., granted bail

Robert Joseph Boule ordered to turn away anyone indicating a plan to enter Canada illegally

RCMP arrest B.C. man following threatening Vaisakhi Facebook post

Post made reference to pressure cooker bomb at massive Surrey parade

Second dump site of Dungeness crab discovered in northern B.C.

DFO confident new site related to larger April 2 dump

Northern B.C. high school student reaches 100,000 followers on YouTube

Voice actor, animator, Jericho Fortune has more than 30-million views on his channel GTAGAMER222

University mourns student who died in B.C. canoeing accident

Andrew Milner, 19, was in his second year with the University of Calgary’s basketball program

Most Read