A large swath of warm water spanning thousands of kilometres from the Bering Sea to Mexico, nicknamed by scientists as “the Blob,” has returned to the West Coast, threatening marine life and fisheries. The Blob was christened in 2014, after a similar natural event that spanned two years devastated the salmon industry, damaged ecosystems and disrupted wildlife like whales, sea lions and crabs. “This is a massive pool… of warm water that’s in the Pacific, that is thousands of kilometres huge,” said senior climatologist for Environment Canada David Phillips on CTV’s Your Morning Tuesday. “This one stretches from the Bering Strait, the Bering Sea, right through the Gulf of Alaska, right through to California, British Columbia, and down to Mexico.”
In Canada's largest city, raw sewage flows into Lake Ontario so often, Toronto tells people they should never swim off the city's beaches for least two days after it rains. Across the country in Mission, B.C., a three-decade-old pipe that carries sewage under the Fraser River to a treatment plant in Abbotsford is so loaded operators can't even slip a camera inside it to look for damage. If that pipe bursts, it will dump 11 million litres of putrid water from area homes and businesses into a critical salmon habitat every day it isn't fixed.
Environment and Climate Change Canada has issued hefty fines to the University of British Columbia and CIMCO Refrigeration for releasing ammonia-laden water into a tributary of the Fraser River in Vancouver. According to a written statement, UBC was fined $1.2 million and CIMCO $800,000 stemming from a complaint about an ammonia odour at an outfall ditch connected to Booming Ground Creek in Pacific Spirit Regional Park on Sept. 12, 2014. The ministry says UBC and CIMCO were fixing the refrigeration system at Thunderbird Arena at the university's Vancouver campus when they purged residual ammonia vapours from the system into a storm drain that flowed into a ditch and then the creek.
Environment Canada has decided not to lay charges against Vale for potentially dangerous run-off leaking from its Sudbury slag piles. But the mining company is currently installing a new system for controlling the slag seepage, work it says is unrelated to the government investigation. Environment Canada refused an interview with CBC, but said in a statement that it began investigating contaminated water coming from the Sudbury slag pile after a complaint from the public in 2012.