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The Vancouver Hub engages Vancouverites in water quality monitoring, data-sharing, and stewardship of False Creek. The hub monitors locations that have limited water quality data, are vulnerable to contamination, and provides opportunities for Vancouverites to connect with the water. False Creek is notably susceptible to sewage pollution due to five known sewer outfalls that can result in combined sewer overflows (CSOs) during storm and rain events.


"Vancouver prides itself on its amazing access to nature. Our public beaches are a huge part of our culture. I think now more than ever we are collectively recognizing the positive impact of getting outside, especially in face of the pandemic. One place that needs more attention is False Creek. The very real water quality issues and resulting social stigma around this body of water poses a major barrier to recreation in an area that we know has so much potential. That is why we monitor the water quality year-round, to make sure one day we can proudly say “Yes! You can swim right in the city!”

- Imogene Broberg-Hull, Vancouver Communications and Monitoring Coordinator


Sewage is the problem. You are the solution.

Together we can make 2020 less sh*tty.


Problem: Sewage pollution

Did you know that we are dumping raw sewage into our water? In the 21st century!

CSOs, or combined sewer overflows, exist in every major city in Canada. Combined sewers are exactly what they sound like: underground pipes that combine both stormwater and sewage. When there is heavy rain or reduced capacity at wastewater treatment plants, these sewers discharge untreated sewage directly into our rivers, lakes, and oceans. Gross, right?  

Bird looks at sewage in the Toronto harbour

These antiquated systems overflow much more often than you’d think:

In 2017, 270 million cubic meters of sewage flowed into the natural waterbodies where people swim, fish, and paddle. That’s 100,000 olympic sized swimming pools of sewage in just one year. 

Sewage in our waters is:

    • Bad for your physical health.   Every year, an estimated 400,000 Canadians get sick from swimming in contaminated water.

    • Bad for your mental health.   50% of Canadians have reported worsening mental health since the pandemic began. We need access to water and outdoor spaces to improve our mental health.
    • Bad for the environment.   Sewage outfalls destroy ecosystems and create dead zones that cannot sustain aquatic life. This also affects the fish that we eat and the water that we drink.

Sewage flowing past boats and kayaks

Solution: You

It doesn’t have to be this way. Your donation is part of the solution.

Swim Drink Fish has been connecting people with water since 2001. We employ twenty passionate individuals who are devoted to safeguarding your water.  As a nonprofit organization, we rely on your donations to employ the amazing team that monitors your water and shares accessible water quality information with the public. 


One of the ways we connect people to water is through citizen science. We test the water that you use for recreation, like beaches, marinas, and paddling courses.  To know if water is clean enough for recreation, we need to collect samples on a regular basis.

Why? Because recreational water quality is like the weather — it changes all the time.

Elise sampling the water in Toronto's harbour

Your donation means we can: 

  • Connect you to your local waters 
  • Collect water samples and monitor water quality
  • Share water health data 
  • Restore the places you love

That’s the recipe for a swimmable, drinkable, fishable future. That’s what we do.

Boy prepares to jump into Lake Ontario's waves

Help us make 2020 less sh*tty.  Become part of the solution: donate to Swim Drink Fish today.


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