Water quality monitoring program launched in Vancouver’s False Creek

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Fraser Riverkeeper and Swim Drink Fish Canada have launched a citizen science initiative to monitor E.coli levels in Vancouver’s False Creek.

“Everyone should have access to swimmable drinkable fishable water. An important component of this is ensuring everyone has the tools necessary to know and safeguard their local waters by collecting and making available useful scientific information related to their recreational waters,”  says Gabrielle Parent-Doliner, Swim Guide program manager, Swim Drink Fish Canada.

The amount of E.coli measured in False Creek has exceeded Vancouver Coastal Health’s (VCH) acceptable levels for six weeks since May, according to recent reports.

There is no swimming in False Creek but stand-up paddlers have been seen falling into the water, kayakers are drenched by splashing water while dogs and children wade at the shallows. VCH advises the public to wash their hands and shower if they touch the water.

Swim Drink Fish Canada’s staff and volunteers will take samples from: Sunset Beach – Aquatic Centre; Brokers’ Bay; Alder Bay; Olympic Village Dock; Habitat Island; David Lam Park and Charleson Park.

The team will focus on recreational hotspots in and around the area from July to October.

Samples will be tested weekly at Fraser Riverkeeper’s new in-house Swim Drink Fish IDEXX lab for E.coli, which is an indicator of sewage and presents a risk to human health and the environment in high concentrations.

Results will supplement the weekly samples taken and tested by Metro Vancouver and the City of Vancouver. Sample results are reported to VCH from three locations in False Creek: East, Central, and West.

The test results will be shared with the public every week through the Swim Guide app.

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Melissa is a reporter at Vancouver Is Awesome and has worked primarily in radio and online media. She grew up in Ontario, went to school in Halifax and worked in Northern B.C. before moving to Vancouver. If you've got a story to share email: melissa@vancouverisawesome.com