Obabika is a not-for-profit creative and strategic studio specifically designed to bring resources to environmental efforts. 

TREAT OUR SALISH SEA

join our mailing list
  • Twitter - White Circle
  • Instagram - White Circle

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Social Media Kit

Spread the word!

Further Reading & Sources

Some resources to help you learn more

Letter Template

Speak with your local representatives

1/1

Media Kit

We've put together some photos and captions so you can share with your network!  

 

Did you know Metro Vancouver’s largest wastewater treatment plant, Iona, discharges undertreated sewage directly into the Salish Sea? Help prevent toxins and #microplastics from entering local waters by telling government why it is important to include tertiary treatment in the Iona Wastewater Treatment plant upgrade. Add your voice to protect the Salish Sea and its inhabitants like endangered Southern Resident orcas - send your letter today!

Help prevent toxins and #microplastics from entering the Salish Sea by telling government why it is important to include tertiary treatment in the Iona Wastewater Treatment plant upgrade. Send a letter today, through the link in my bio!

photo: @alanapatterson

via @obabika___ & @georgiastraitalliance 

#treatoursalishsea #HealthySeas #CdnPoli #BCPoli

The Fraser estuary and the receiving environment of Iona Island Wastewater Facility is one of the richest and most important ecosystems for migrant and wintering waterbirds in Canada.

 

This Important Bird and Biodiversity Area (IBA) supports globally or continentally significant populations of fifteen species, including perigene falcons and western sandpiper. 

Without the proper treatment, microplastics, harmful chemicals, and pharmaceuticals are leaving the facility and coming into contact with these species. 

Click the link in my bio to tell your elected official that we want tertiary treatment added to our largest wastewater facility!

photo: @alanapatterson

via @obabika___ #treatoursalishsea 

Pacific salmon are a keystone species of the northwest. The Fraser River historically being one of the greatest salmon rivers in the world. The estuary - where salmon spend a portion of their lives is also the recieving environment for the Iona Island Wastewater facility.  

The facility treats over 2 billion litres of wastewater a year, and employs a system that does not remove a large portion of microplastics, pharmaceuticals, and harmful chemicals. Without the ability for the facility to remove chemicals, and microplastics, it's clear that these fish are also ingesting them. 

What can be done? The installation of whats called a tertiary treatment, and you can use the link in my bio to tell your local officials all about it. 

photo: @urbansalmonproject

via @obabika___ #treatoursalishsea

As of September 2019, only 73 Southern Resident orcas remain. One of the key threats are toxic contaminants, which are introduced through under-treated wastewater, such as the outflow of Iona Island Wastewater Treatment Plant.

 

Metro Vancouver's largest wastewater treatment plant currently employs a primary treatment, leaving a large portion of pharmaceuticals, microplastics, and harmful chemicals in the water once its diluted into the ocean. 

However, we can change this. Using the link in my bio you can contact your local officials, and tell them that you want tertiary treatment for our Salish Sea!

photo: @hysazu

via @obabika___, and @georgiastraitalliance 

#treatoursalishsea

Further Reading & Sources

 

Pharmaceutical pollution, and its effect on the marine environment:

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/05/pharmaceutical-pollution/586006/

 

Background information of sewage in the Georgia Strait:

https://georgiastrait.org/issues/other-issues/sewage/

 

News report on the effects of fecal matter on marine animals:

https://www.king5.com/article/tech/science/environment/orcas/human-and-animal-fecal-matter-may-impact-the-health-of-southern-resident-orcas/281-2948c193-da09-410b-af45-cd3c5acd1281

 

Discovery of raw sewage rates in Metro Vancouver:

https://www.thestar.com/vancouver/2018/07/12/raw-sewage-dumped-in-metro-vancouver-waters-saw-five-year-high-in-2017.html

 

A study on the ability of WWTP’s to capture micro=plastics, and the effects they have on the marine environment :

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0025326X18304053?via%3Dihub

 

Nitrogen and phosphorus removed with advanced treatment can be turned into high value fertilizers in an economic way, offsetting the cost of these advanced processes. Portland, Toronto and Saskatoon have done this. 

https://www.opb.org/news/blog/ecotrope/new-hillsboro-plant-sells-nutrients-from-sewage/

 

Raincoast Conservation Foundations work on the Fraser River Estuary, Coastal Restoration Fund, and why it all mateers.

https://thenarwhal.ca/how-scientists-are-giving-fraser-river-salmon-a-fresh-chance/

Letter Template

Use the following letter to tell your elected officials that you want a tertiary treatment, and cleaner Salish Sea!

 

Dear, ___

 

Metro Vancouver’s Iona Island Wastewater Treatment Plant [IIWWTP], is in the “Project Definition” phase of its mandated upgrade to secondary treatment, a minimum standard, by 2030. I am requesting your support for the introduction of tertiary treatment to the facility.

 

Currently, IIWWTP employs a primary treatment, which means that only 50% of suspended solids and some light oils are removed. It is also built on a legacy system meaning anything that goes down the sink drain, city drain, or storm water drain is treated the same. As a result, there are significant levels of suspended solids, pharmaceuticals, and harmful chemicals like nitrogen and phosphorus being pumped into the Salish Sea via a seven kilometre pipeline and jetty from IIWWTP. 

 

While a mandatory upgrade by 2030 seems promising, I want to highlight the opportunities that tertiary treatment presents. First and foremost, tertiary treatment means a dramatic reduction of microplastics, contaminants, and suspended solids entering the Salish Sea, and Fraser River. Home of the Southern Resident orcas, the keystone salmon species, and migratory birds who inhabit Iona Island.

  • Outflow is filtered and disinfected with UV processes, eliminating harmful nitrogen, phosphorus, and pharmaceuticals. 

    • Removal of further suspended solids and microplastics.

    • Outflow is suitable for discharge into an enhanced estuary such as the MacDonald slough, to re-establish important fish habitat for declining Fraser River salmonid (specifically chinook)

  • Decommissioning the Iona spit to allow better movement of water and fish; openings in MacDonald spit to allow better movement of water and fish. This flow would allow better passage, and higher success rates  

 

Simply put, I do not believe that the required minimum upgrade to secondary treatment is an adequate response given the technology available, and scientific body of knowledge around on the harm of secondary treatment outflow. The impacts to the surrounding environment will be detrimental. Tertiary treatment is a necessary step towards Metro Vancouver’s goal of becoming a world-leading green municipality.

 

I stand with a number of concerned citizens, community groups, and elected officials calling for the protection of the Salish Sea, including critical habitat for endangered salmon and orca populations, via tertiary treatment of wastewater at the IIWWTP. . 

 

Thank you for your time,

*YOUR NAME* *City or country*