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In new data released by pollutiontracker.org, the Victoria Harbor has been named the most polluted body of water on the coast of British Columbia.

The study, done in partnership with Ocean Wise, collected sediment and mussel samples from 51 locations between 2015 and 2017 along the British Columbia’s coast, including 4 sample sites in Victoria’s Harbour.

Top 3 Most Polluted Sample Sites All Found in Victoria Harbour

The Bay Street Bridge or “Victoria Harbour 1” is the most contaminated site along the entire BC coast.

It has the highest levels of alkylphenols, PCDD/Fs, and TBBPA, and the second highest levels of HBCD, lead, organotins, PBDEs, and PPCPs for tested sediment samples.

The Inner Harbour, or “Victoria Harbour 3” is the second most contaminated site coast-wide. It has the highest levels of HBCD and PBDEs, and the second highest levels of alkylphenols and PCDD/Fs. Lead, organotins, PCBs, PPCPs, and PAHs are all in the top 5 highest levels throughout the province for tested sediment samples.

The Johnson Street Bridge sample site, or “Victoria Harbour 2” is the third most contaminated site coast-wide. It has the highest levels of organotins and PCBs in B.C., while PAHs, PBDEs, lead, mercury, PCDD/Fs, and HBCD are all within the top 5 for tested sediment samples.

Other Greater Victoria locations include Albert Head near MetchosinFinnerty Cove, near 10 Mile Point, and Patricia Bay, near North Saanich. None had anywhere near as much pollution as the harbour.

Oceanographic and urban factors contribute to contamination

The high levels of contaminants are due to a combination of urban factors, such as historical use, harbours, and high-volume industrial shipping areas.

Other oceanographic factors such as water depth and a slow-moving current impacts the dense amount of contaminants. Basically, the water in Victoria’s Harbour doesn’t interact with the ocean very much.

For a detailed look and explanation on each of the contaminants, including their key findings and interactive map, check out pollutiontracker.org.

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