Victoria has been dumping millions of gallons of untreated sewage, everyday, into the shared waters of the Juan de Fuca Strait for many decades. Actually, the Canadian city has been dumping raw sewage into the public waters every since it was first settled by Europeans in 1843. Now, with a service population of over 300,000 people, most using pharmaceuticals, household cleaners, disinfectants and products containing thousands of toxic chemicals, the impacts are that much worse.
In 2006, the government told Victoria it had to build secondary sewage treatment facilities, or face fines. Hundreds of public meetings were held, studies done and evaluated, and decisions made. But through it all the opponents have done everything possible to stall, stop and prevent any facilities from being built, citing the “natural treatment processes of the ocean waters”. Using scare tactics, such as telling residents bio-gas harvesting was likely to explode, destroying neighboring houses, and promising unspecified processes that would produce facilities that would be built faster, cost less to build and operate, and that would treat the sewage to a higher standard, opponents were able to sow the seeds of doubt and discontent.
Now, after 9 years, the processes of studying and public engagement have started anew. All previous work has been discarded. The Capitol Regional District (CRD) has divided the potential sewage treatment facilities into two different groups, “West side”, and “East side”. Deadlines still exist, but opposition groups are now lobbying the government to deem sewage treatment unnecessary.
Port Angeles native, and current Congressman Derek Kilmer, Washington Governor Inslee, and a number of other politicians have repeatedly protested the continuing pollution of the shared waters, but as of today, Victoria is still just studying the idea.