Boaters raise con­cerns about Gan­der River

Ap­ple­ton Mayor says sewage sys­tem is best in the prov­ince

The Beacon (Gander) - - Front page - BY JOSH HEALEY Twit­ter: @joshrjhealey josh.healey@tc.tc

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.

JOSH HEALEY / THE BEACON

Tony Geange and Glo­ria Knowl­ton want an­swers con­cern­ing the large amounts of white sub­stance cov­er­ing some banks of the Gan­der River.

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF GLO­RIA KNOWL­TON

Knowl­ton took this pho­to­graph on Satur­day to demon­strate the al­leged level of con­tam­i­na­tion along the river­bank.

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