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Dragon boat festival to go ahead despite sewage spewing into False Creek

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A burst pipe in Olympic Village flooded the street with between six and eight inches of sewage water Thursday morning – but a dragon boat festival in nearby False Creek will still go ahead as planned.

Officials confirmed the backed up water is likely to have made its way into the inlet.

“The sewage would have probably gone in to the catch basins and be discharged and I don’t know exactly where it goes but I’m assuming it probably would be into False Creek,” said Lorn Carter with Metro Vancouver.

Carter could not confirm how much wastewater flowed into False Creek, saying tests will be done to determine the volume.

Regardless, Vancouver Coastal Health says it is safe for boaters to be on the water.

"We would not recommend primary contact, so swimming in the water, however boating, the activities related to the dragon boating festival, which we would describe as secondary contact are certainly within public health recommendations at this time,” said Dr. Michael Shwandt with the health authority.

“We wouldn’t say there is no risk. There is some risk, but there are different thresholds for when we would recommend swimming versus boating.”

The Concord Dragon Boat Festival – which starts Saturday – sees participants fly in from all over the world. The organization says it will be setting up hand washing stations and mobile showers for racers.

" All racers are encouraged to use these stations, and to wash their hands after racing with soap and water," a statement from organizers said.

 

Metro Vancouver says crews will be excavating the road to determine what exactly caused the pipe to burst.

“We don’t think the age of infrastructure had anything to do with this burst pipe, it was constructed in 2000 and would be expected to be in good shape,” Carter said.

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