Boaters raise concerns about Gander River
Appleton Mayor says sewage system is best in the province
Tony Geange and Gloria Knowlton love to go boating on the Gander River during the summer. Residents of Appleton, they have a cabin along the river that they visited this past weekend.
However, they were horrified to see the remnants of a white substance all along the waterline.
“It’s tissue paper. There’s no doubt in my mind. Our cabin is eight miles down (river) and it’s littered,” said Geange. “Some places are worse than others.”
“Everything was white,” said Knowlton.
Geange estimates he’s been boating on the Gander River for roughly 30 years and said this is the first time he’s seen the area like this since the new sewage plant was built.
Bill Geange, another resident, lives along the river and said he was concerned about the smell.
“The smell was terrible. I don’t know what’s going on, but there seems to be something up,” he said.
Geange noted that the smell has dissipated in the last few days.
All three residents are seeking an answer to the alleged pollution.
“I have to ask the question: who polices this? How does this happen?” asked Knowlton.
Appleton Mayor Derm Flynn said he takes all matters concerning pollution very seriously.
“I know the importance of the Gander River to all of us. It’s a major waterway and that’s why we were very much involved in lobbying the government to put
in a special system on the Gander River,” said Flynn.
Roughly 10 years ago, a sewage treatment system was built in the area to protect the river at a cost of approximately $7 million.
Flynn explained that the
town’s current system is deemed as the most advanced in the entire province and that it exceeds all provincial and national guidelines.
Furthermore, Flynn said he consulted with local guides concerning the white marks along the riverbanks for an explanation.
“They tell me that it’s a normal occurrence to see a white high water mark,” he said.
Water levels have been at a high point along the river the last few weeks, the result of runoff from the landmark levels of snow; they have since fallen considerably.
Flynn also noted that a construction site by Salmon Brook River was flooded some months back, carrying tarps and sandbags into the main river.
Knowlton and Geange still want answers.
“I won’t even use the water. We don’t know what’s in it,” said Knowlton.
Tony Geange and Gloria Knowlton want answers concerning the large amounts of white substance covering some banks of the Gander River.
Knowlton took this photograph on Saturday to demonstrate the alleged level of contamination along the riverbank.