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BC Conservation Foundation is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a grant from the BC Conservation & Biodiversity Awards to support its tire wear toxin (TWT) research project. This project aims to tackle the presence and impact of N-(1,3-dimethylbutyl)-N-phenyl-p-phenylenediamine-quinone, commonly known as 6-PPD Quinone (6-PPDQ) in roadway runoff, which has been identified as the cause of 'urban run-off mortality syndrome' in various salmonid species, including Chinook, Coho, and Steelhead/Rainbow trout.

David Hendrickson, Executive Director of the BC Conservation Foundation, emphasized the urgency of addressing the issue: "In 2020, the discovery of 6-PPDQ in roadway runoff raised significant concerns for the health of our waterways and the species that rely on them. These toxic tire wear particles, released continuously into the environment, have toxicological relevance at sub-parts-per-billion levels. Waterways adjacent to roadways - especially those vulnerable to direct runoff flow such as bridges and storm drains - are at risk."

To determine the presence and concentration of 6-PPDQ, BC Conservation Foundation is undertaking a comprehensive sampling effort in streams along the East Coast Vancouver Island. The sampling procedures, developed in 2022, will be conducted with the assistance of volunteers from local First Nations and stewardship groups. Their involvement will enhance the ability to capture the presence of 6-PPDQ during rain events, a critical factor in the toxin's release into waterways.

Volunteers will opportunistically sample up to 10 rain events, measuring five millimeters or greater following a minimum of 48 hours of dry weather, at over 30 sample locations from Campbell River south to Victoria. The number of rain events captured will depend on the prevailing weather conditions throughout the year.

"The long-term expected outcomes of this project are multi-fold," stated Hendrickson. "Firstly, we aim to identify hotspots of 6-PPDQ contamination. Secondly, in collaboration with Vancouver Island University, we seek to develop a rapid, cost-effective method of analysis to further our understanding of this issue. Additionally, we plan to test and implement green infrastructure solutions, such as rain gardens, at hotspot sites to reduce the input of 6-PPDQ during rain events. We plan to share our results with municipalities, tire companies, and the general public to raise awareness and foster support for systemic changes in tire production and infrastructure design."

The focus of the project's first year will be on producing an interactive map depicting the sample results.

BC Conservation Foundation extends its gratitude to the BC Conservation & Biodiversity Awards for their generous support in funding this vital research project. By addressing the tire wear toxin issue, the Foundation remains steadfast in its commitment to safeguarding the health of our waterways and protecting the species that rely on them.