New River Stressed Out

Over the last 2 months, we've been reporting on the resurgence of environmental problems connected with New River. Tonight, the Department of the Environment is sounding the alarm that once again, there are portions of the river that are critically stressed as a result of water pollution.

Every month, representatives of the DOE have been collecting and testing water samples at 20 sample points along the river.

The DOE reports that according to their tests, the portion of the river that is struggling with the highest levels of stress is the area from the Toll Bridge to the Trial Farm Village. The say that this portion of the river has the lowest levels of dissolved oxygen and the highest concentration of Chlorophyll. This indicates that there is an algal bloom that is reaching a critical state. Under those conditions, the river will not be able to adequately support aquatic life - in short, ripe conditions for a fish-kill.

This morning, the Deputy Chief Environmental Officer granted us an interview via Zoom. Here's what he had to say about what the monthly tests are revealing about the overall health of this major waterway in the north:

So, do the DOE officials know the sources of water pollution? Well, according to the Deputy Chief Environmental Officer, it appears that the build-up of polluting nutrients is coming from farming activities, the light industries in the town, as well as the residential homes near the river.:

We also asked about the DOE's efforts to step up enforcement against those business owners and homeowners who are knowingly harming the river's ecological functions. The Deputy Chief Environmental Officer told us that their presence on the Town's trade licensing board means that businesses will have to be more responsible about their wastewater and effluent discharge practices:

The Department says that industrial farmers and the residents living near the river can help the authorities look after it by ensuring that they are complying within their property with adequate waste management practices.

They are receiving support to implement a 2-year monthly water quality monitoring program for the river.

Channel 7