SURREY – The City of Surrey is asking residents to “Take the Dip” on World Rivers Day this Sunday (Sept. 28).
Hundreds of water testing kits have been sent out to libraries and recreation centres for pickup, in an effort to increase environmental stewardship within the community.
“I’m hoping for at least 1,000 participants. You can go into your own neighbourhood on your own time,” said environmental technologist Liana Ayach. “It only takes five to 10 minutes.”
The questionnaire asks people to record the water’s temperature, its nitrate and turbidity levels, as well as its acidity.
“Even if the water looks clean and clear, it may carry small amounts of pollutant or chemical that can affect the fish that live there,” she added. “We have over 1,400 kilometres of streams here, so this allows us to have more eyes on the rivers. If we see a problematic area, we can go out and do more lab testing.”
The initiative, done in partnership with the World Watch Monitoring Challenge, FreshWater Watch and Evergreen Canada, is a first for the city. The data collected will be used to create a spreadsheet, scheduled to be posted to the city’s website by late October.
Ayach added she’ll be updating the info as results come in.
“Even if I get a result back from Burnaby, that’s terrific, too. We’re all in communication with one another. The more info we have, the better, because it’s really helpful to these organizations.”
Participants are asked to be mindful of salmonbearing areas and to dip safely away from bridges and road crossings.
Each kit has a prestamped postcard to allow for an easy mail-in. They can be picked up at various places, including City Centre Library and the city hall info desk. For more information, visit Surrey. ca/community/15653.aspx.