Top Ten Pollution Sources

Sewage issues also threatening waterways, says Riverkeeper

(Moncton, February 20, 2013) – Causeways, sewage discharges, abandoned dams and stormwater runoff continued to harm the Petitcodiac River ecosystem in 2012, just like they have for the past decades, according to a report unveiled today by Petitcodiac Riverkeeper.

The 9th annual “10 Worst Pollution Sources of the Petitcodiac River System” report released by the Riverkeeper organization is meant to educate the public on the most urgent environmental issues facing the watershed and to urge the parties responsible for the negative impacts to take corrective action.

The term ‘pollution source’ employed by Petitcodiac Riverkeeper in its report refers to an activity by individuals, corporations or public agencies that has caused or continues to cause a single or multiple negative impact on water quality, species habitat, biodiversity or the ecological integrity of the Petitcodiac River system. The river system includes the Petitcodiac River, Memramcook River and Shepody River ecosystems in addition to all of their tributaries.

 

The Top-10 list reads as follows

(with the full report available on the Riverkeeper’s website – www.petitcodiac.org):
Top Ten Worst Pollution Sources in 2012

1.   Petitcodiac Causeway

Owner/Responsible Authority

Province of New Brunswick

2.   Greater Moncton Sewerage Treatment
Facility
Owner/Responsible Authority

Greater Moncton Sewerage Commission (Town of Riverview, City of Moncton, City of Dieppe)

3.   Memramcook Causeway
Owner/Responsible Authority

Province of New Brunswick

4.   Shepody Causeway
Owner/Responsible Authority

Province of New Brunswick

5.   Urban Development – Watercourse and Habitat Destruction
Owner/Responsible Authority

Federal, provincial, municipal governments and private developers

6.   Abandoned Mill Creek/Navy Dam
Owner/Responsible Authority

Town of Riverview

7.   Abandoned Humphreys Brook Dam
Owner/Responsible Authority

City of Moncton

8.   Various Dams and Barriers

Owner/Responsible Authority

Province of New Brunswick, City of Moncton



9.   Stormwater Runoff

Owner/Responsible Authority

Federal, provincial and municipal governments



10.  Shale Gas and Uranium Exploration and Mining

Owner/Responsible Authority
Province of New Brunswick

For the first time since the report was published in 2002, one of the top-three pollution sources in the watershed, namely the former Moncton landfill, was removed from the worst polluters list. The Jonathan Creek diversion project, associated with the court order to cease all discharges of leachate into this watercourse, was completed by the City of Moncton in March 2010 at a cost of $3 million. It followed an investigation into the matter initiated by Petitcodiac Riverkeeper in 2000 and a landmark court decision and clean up order issued in 2003. Monitoring at the site will continue for decades but for now, Riverkeeper is satisfied that the former Moncton landfill no longer poses a significant risk to aquatic life in the river. The former landfill was featured during an eight year period as the watershed’s third most important pollution source.

On another positive note, Stage 2 of the long awaited Petitcodiac River Restoration Project began in April 2010 with the opening of the gates of the Petitcodiac causeway. Results from the first two years of these interim gate opening measures show remarkable fish passage improvements, a reduction in the flooding risks in the region and the slow and steady rebirth of the tidal bore. 

The Province has however yet to announce its intentions to complete Stage 3 of the project. This stage requires the construction of a permanent partial bridge on the causeway to comply with the Fisheries Act and was scheduled to begin in 2012 or 2013 “For this reason,” says Pierre Landry, President of Petitcodiac Riverkeeper, “the Petitcodiac causeway remains the number one threat to the health of the river ecosystem and to the quality of life in our watershed.” 

The report also highlights a new and potential threat posed with the proposed large scale development of shale gas in the river system. “Residents in communities such as Elgin, Hillsborough and Turtle Creek, where drilling is already taking place, are concerned about the impacts of shale gas development on their groundwater, the aquatic ecosystems, air quality, health and the future of their communities”, says the report’s author, former Petitcodiac Riverkeeper Daniel LeBlanc. “Municipal authorities have similarly expressed concerns regarding the proposed large scale extraction of ground water or drinking water, and the disposal of toxic wastewaters involved in the extraction processes.”

In summary, the 2012 rankings for pollution sources in the Petitcodiac River System remain largely unchanged compared to previous years, with the exception of the former Moncton Landfill threat being removed from the 3rd spot and large scale shale gas development being added on the 10th rank of this list.

Download the document

Read past reports:

2009
2008
2007 (seulement disponible en anglais)
2006
2005
2004
2003
2002

 

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