Washington state political representatives have asked British Columbia Premier Christy Clark to do something about the dumping of raw sewage from Vancouver Island into the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
The June 13 letter was led by U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer of the Olympic Peninsula’s 6th Congressional District.
The government of British Columbia recently decided not to move forward with a sewage treatment plant in the Victoria region at McLoughlin Point. The Victoria area, home to 300,000 people, has pumped effluent into the waters across from Washington state for years. The treatment facility was supposed to be completed by 2018 – until the local Canadian government decided to table plans for the site, according to a press release.
In their letter, the state representatives pointed out the risks posed to fisheries, businesses and the health of waters by the presence of raw sewage.
“As you know,” they wrote, “more than 82 million liters [21.7 million gallons] of effluent without secondary treatment is being dumped into our shared waters in the Strait of Juan de Fuca every day.”
“We urge you to work with your colleagues at the local and federal level to find an agreeable solution so that an appropriate treatment facility is completed as soon as possible,” the members continued. “The strength of our economies in the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia depends on the health of our waterways and natural resources. Washington state supports more than 67,000 commercial fishing jobs, in addition to our vibrant recreational fishing, boating, watersport, and tourism businesses. The practice of discharging this type and volume of waste violates environmental standards commonly held by our two nations.”
The letter also was signed by Sens. Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray, and Reps. Denny Heck (10th District), Rick Larsen (2nd District), Suzan DelBene (1st District), Jim McDermott (7th District) and Adam Smith (9th District).