Thursday, September 28, 2017

Shit in Lunenburg Harbour? It's Time to Play Not My Responsibility.

The above photo of raw sewage in Lunenburg harbour makes me want to throw up.  It also makes me want to throw up thinking about how hard one man needs to work to get any level of government to care.

Lunenburg harbour is polluted.  We are killing sea life, making ourselves ill, endangering fisherman, yet the only thing any level of government seems concerned about is shifting responsibility.  It absolutely boggles my mind.  Instead of politicians capitalizing on the energy and determination of a concerned citizen to help fix a problem, they instead capitalize on every opportunity to cover their asses.

Being a citizen trying to get government to care is kind of like being in one of those telephone customer service nightmares where you just pray you will find that one, rare human at the other end of the telephone line who will go the extra mile.  But, alas, most of the humans on the other end of the line care deeply about getting home for dinner on time.

Here's a letter that Bill Flower sent to Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Environment Canada, in an effort to get someone to care.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Environment Canada
Bridgewater Office
Bridgewater NS                                                                                               Sept. 07, 2017

To whom it may concern;
This is a formal complaint made by me to Federal Fisheries and Oceans, Environment Canada, Occupational Health and Safety and also Food Safety! And Department of Health.

Lunenburg Sewage Treatment outfall!

Lunenburg has been pumping treated sewage into the federal harbor of Lunenburg for many years.  Fifteen years ago the town built a sewage treatment plant that has never worked properly. Lunenburg consolidated all of the outfalls from the front and back harbor’s and directed them to the treatment plant.  The treated sewage is then pumped into Lunenburg Harbor, a federal harbor, and deposited above grade under the Inshore Fisherman’s Wharf. 


The operators of the treatment plant have stated for many years that the treated effluent from the plant meets federal and provincial standards?  This we know is not true!  The boats, dock lines and other equipment used at the wharf are being handled without any precautionary methods because of these false statements putting every ones health at risk. 

Fishing boats unload catches of fish using harbor water from this outfall site to wash fish and to clean everything from fish totes, cutting boards, knives and boat decks as well as their rubber gear, and aprons.  This has been done for many years from this location without any signage to warn the fishers?  The town says there effluent meets Federal standards to be pumped into the harbor?  How can the federal government allow this?  The town is pumping thousands of gallons of fecal material into our waters and nothing is being done about it? When we test it we have 5000 ppm/100ml results!  How is this allowable?  It is dangerous for anybody in contact with this water. People are required to wear protective equipment in anything above 170 ppm   This effluent spills across the slipway where the general public launch their boats.  They stand in this contaminated outfall feces slick to launch their boats.  Fisherman stand their boats ashore to work on the bottoms of their boats here. 

General public?

The general public has been using the slipway at Lunenburg Fisherman’s wharf for many years.  The town has recently decided to put in their own launch way at the bottom of Broad Street.  Yes a wonderful idea!  The problem is that this area is where the contaminated feces laden water stays because of the limited flushing action in the area of the outfall.  When we tested this area we came up with test results of 500ppm/100ml of water.  The town test results were 375ppm/100ml of water?  Is this safe.

If a ship was to come inside 12 miles and dump the kind of waste Lunenburg has been dumping into the harbor it would be detained by Transport Canada, and heavily fined for such actions.  Why is the town except from these regulations?  We have taken it upon ourselves to have the harbor sampled at the outfall sight and results were 5000ppm/100ml of water at the face of the wharf in front of the outfall pipe.


Many diseases transmitted by fecal contamination at levels we found in Lunenburg Harbor can cause  Gastroenteritis, Conjunctivitis, Hepatitis, Legionella, Cryptosporidium, Giardiasis, E Coli, etc.  Fecal bacteria also has a high risk introducing epidemic diseases like the outbreak of Cholera in Haiti introduced by UN soldiers.  It depends on whether or not one of the contributors to the pollution is harboring one of these diseases and this is totally unpredictable.  Being a tourist destination with many international travelers greatly increases these risk factors.

The town needs to be forced to clean up this totally unacceptable situation under the watch full guidance of Fisheries and Oceans Canada at a federal level.  The outfall pipe for this pollutant must be moved away from human activity where it has a place to flush and dissipate to acceptable levels before coming into human contact and the waste treatment plant needs to be made functional to federal treatment plant standards as soon as possible.  2020-2021  is not considered acceptable in these matters. This is suppose to be a Unesco World Heritage Site.


Capt. William Flower

And here's the response: 

Dear Captain Flower,

The federal government manages Waste water Systems Effluent Regulations made under the Fisheries act.  The objective of the WSER is to reduce the threats to fish, fish habitat and human health from fish consumption by decreasing the amount of deleterious substances discharged into surface water from wastewater effluent.  The WSER set national baseline effluent quality standards achievable through secondary wastewater treatment and include compliance timelines and rules on monitoring and reporting.  The town of Lunenburg is subject to the requirements of the WSER.

Environment and Climate Change Canada is responsible for the administration and enforcement of the pollution prevention provisions of Fisheries Act and the WSER.  These provisions and regulations are enforced in accordance with the compliance and enforcement policy the Habitat protection and pollution prevention provisions of the Fisheries Act....


Wastewater Program
Environment and Climate Change Canada/ Government of Canada.

Now, does that sound like it was written by a bureaucrat that actually cares or by a bureaucrat whose supper was getting cold?

Is there a politician with a spine, in this country, that will champion Captain Flowers' cause?  Hello?  Anybody out there? 

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