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Environment

Seattle Is Tired of Dealing with Canada’s Crap

Seattle's tourism board wants to boycott the scenic Vancouver Island city, which still dumps its raw sewage into the ocean.
Manisha Krishnan
Toronto, CA
August 25, 2015, 9:15pm
Think about how much raw sewage is in that water! Photo via Flickr user Tracy O

Read: Victoria Is Still Cleaning Up Last Century's Toxic Mess

The Seattle Times is demanding Victoria, BC get its shit together or risk being shunned by its neighbors down south.

In an editorial titled "Sewage treatment: Victoria's constipated political process needs fixing," the newspaper calls out BC's picturesque capital for continuing to use the ocean like a giant toilet.

Victoria, shockingly, doesn't have a sewage plant, which means every day it dumps 34 million gallons of untreated poop and chemicals into the Juan de Fuca Strait.

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"This has been Victoria's foul problem for decades. But years of ridicule and a 1993 tourism boycott didn't end this neglectful approach to sewage treatment," reads the editorial. Even pleas from Mr. Floatie, a six-foot-tall, falsetto-voiced turd and sewage-treatment advocate, seem to have fallen on deaf ears.

According to editors at the Seattle Times, "it is time for Washington to renew a tourism boycott and a return of Mr. Floatie."

For a while, things looked promising—Victoria was slated to open a treatment plant as early as 2018. But bureaucracy including the rejection of a rezoning application killed that plan and it now looks like a solution is a long ways off.

It was enough to make Pam Elardo, King County, Washington's wastewater treatment division director, go (and I'm paraphrasing here): fuck it.

"It appears that construction and operation of a wastewater treatment system is now years, if not decades, away," she wrote in her resignation from the task force addressing the issue.

"I don't have the time to spend on something that, at this stage, does not seem likely to be successful," she told VICE, adding the project was lacking necessary backing from the provincial government.

Elardo pointed out that communities who share the same body of water as Victoria and are much smaller all treat their waste.

"It's really just not OK with us anymore."

Victoria mayor Lisa Helps responded to the criticism in a letter to the Seattle Times's editor, in which she admits it's pretty ridiculous that "in the 21st century Victoria still flushes its sewage into the ocean."

"We're also motivated to become a responsible and sustainable contributor of the rich Pacific Northwest region," she said. "I look forward to the day when we can hold a retirement party for Mr. Floatie."

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