While authorities are trying to sort out a possible sewage issue in French Creek

Sewage dumping has French Creek residents concerned

There seems to be jurisdictional confusion among various governments and agencies

Some French Creek residents are worried about what appears to be sewage in a storm ditch, but authorities aren’t clear on whose responsibility it is.

“Someone has been dumping an RV holding tank into the storm sewer ditch somewhere in our neighbourhood,” said Landy Stevens, who lives on Pintail Drive at Johnstone Road, adding this is particularly troubling since the ditch flows directly to the beach a block away, so he erected a sign pointing to that fact.

“I was surprised to see toilet paper in the open ditch on Pintail Drive,” said his neighbour John Baxter, who suggests sewer and storm water may be somehow mixing.

“The RDN (Regional District of Nanaimo) has been aware for over a year,” Baxter said. “There are no signs warning people at the beach of the crap in the water outflow.”

The residents said various agencies, including the RDN, Island Health and provincial ministries of the environment and transportation have been contacted about the situation.

RDN staff confirmed they attended the scene, but said they didn’t find much.

“After receiving a report of sewage in a ditch on Pintail Road, RDN staff contacted the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) and arranged for a joint site visit,” said Gerald St. Pierre, RDN Project Engineer, Water and Utility Services.

“Following the visit, the RDN smoke tested the sewer mains in the area to ensure the concerns were not related to our infrastructure and to check for any possible cross connections,” St. Pierre said by e-mail.

“The testing indicated that RDN sewer facilities were not causing the concerns and cross connections were not present. MOTI has jurisdiction over the storm drainage system, including ditches, and has taken over the investigation.”

MOTI was contacted but didn’t have any more details by press deadline.

Similarly an Island Health spokesperson said they did attend, but only that “Our role is to abate a potential health hazard and we believe that has been done,” suggesting the Qualicum Beach engineering department might have more details.

Qualicum Beach Director of Engineering Bob Weir was out of the office, but Chief Administrative Officer Daniel Sailland said he had not heard anything about the town dealing with a sewer issue on that side of town, confirming that Johnstone Road is a couple blocks outside their boundary, in French Creek, technically RDN electoral area G.

Meanwhile at least three residents in the area have contacted The NEWS about the issue, which they see as a serious public health concern and at the very least would desperately like to know where the apparent sewage is coming from.

While evidence of sewage was not immediately visible on Tuesday the residents said it comes and goes with the rain. A sign was posted by residents more than three weeks ago.

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