A sewage leak at the French Creek Pollution Control Centre (FCPCC) has prompted a closure of Shellfish and Bivalve harvesting on behalf of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO).
A flow of untreated wastewater from a manhole at the FCPCC leaked onto the beach at Judges Row, prompting the closure.
Elysha Gordon, the Canadian Shellfish Sanitation Program Coordinator, says the FCPCC is a facility of higher quality, incidents like this are very uncommon, and the closure is standard procedure for a leak of this scale.
“It was a very small amount and the crews arrived on scene quickly.” Gordon says.
The closure, which was implemented on Aug. 2 and will be in place for 21 days, affects areas around Qualicum Beach, French Creek, Parksville and Lasqueti Island. The DFO advises that the harvesting of shellfish and bivalves within a closed area is both illegal and unsafe. A map of the closure area and other information is available online at the DFO.
The FCPCC, which services wastewater from approximately 27,000 people in Qualicum Beach and Parksville, is planned for a facility expansion to handle an increased population and to offer better odour control. The $33 million expansion is slated to begin construction in 2020, and be completed in 2022.