It’s still unclear how much sewage entered the Capilano River after a leak last week, near Fullerton Avenue in West Vancouver.
The District of North Vancouver reported the sewage was leaving a personal property and entering the river through a storm drain outfall pipe.
On Sunday, Squamish First Nation told Global News the raw sewage leak is amazingly concerning and might have been happening for an prolonged time period.
“We discovered a couple of days ago, yet it was said to be discovered around seven days ago,” said Wilson Williams, Squamish First Nation elected councillor.
“Being here the past couple of days, it’s evident this might have been happening for an extended sustained time period.
“We’re in a dire state for this leakage to stop. The smell… it was unbearable to be down by the river for even a couple of minutes.”
The state of the river on Sunday showed it was quite evident that the sewage is having an impact on the environment, the Squamish First Nation councillor said.
“It’s clearly evident. You may see the stain on the rocks and there’s a black cloud within the water,” he said.
“Where the leakage is coming down, it looks prefer it’s coming from the residence up above. It can be checked out more closely. We should not trying to direct blame, we wish to stop the leakage and take care of things after that.”
The encompassing area has many public usages, including nearby Ambleside Beach, but more importantly, the Squamish First Nation said the realm is used for ceremonies.
“All of the users with their families and pets benefit from the water, but for us, within the Squamish Nation, we use it for ceremony, and we fish 12 months round and our families use this water day by day,” Williams said.
“We want to understand how much damage has been done. It is rather concerning.”
Williams said throughout the last couple of weeks, the Capilano River Hatchery together with the Nation released some salmon fry into the river.
The salmon’s path to the ocean is directly through the sewage leak.
A Squamish Nation’s Ta na wa Yúus ta Stitúyntsam̓ Rights & Title official, Kathleen Edwards, said they’re eagerly awaiting water test results and are preparing for bad news.
“Samples have been collected by the B.C. Ministry of Environment. We’re taking all of the steps just in case it’s the worst case scenario,” Edwards said.
“Any introduction into the waterway is affecting the nation in every kind of how: ecological, human health risks, spiritual and emotional for the people. It’s impacting our rights and title, which is constitutionally protected.”
Staff with the environment minister were on the river collecting water samples Friday.
In an email, ministry spokesperson David Karn said the precise source of the leak had not been determined, and that an investigation into the incident was ongoing.
The ministry notified relevant agencies and stakeholders, and environmental response officers together with representatives from the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority and District of West Vancouver had been deployed.
Results from the water samples are expected to be released in the approaching days.
—- With files from Simon Little
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