Science being ignored in effluent pipe debate

Opinion

To the Editor:

The sport fishing industry of Nova Scotia is worth $56 million. The Northumberland Strait is a big chunk of that because of the dozens of rivers that flow into it. The Strait is home to mainland Nova Scotia’s last remaining stable wild Atlantic salmon stocks as well as world class trout fishing.

All of this is now at risk with the proposed 90,000,000 L of toxic effluent to be pumped into the Strait EVERY DAY.

The effluent at the outflow of the pipe is going to be 25 C in the winter and 37 C in the summer. That is double the natural water temps! It is also going to be fresh water but the Strait is comprised of salt water and species like Atlantic salmon and sea run trout require a specific level of salinity to trigger migration, sustain food sources and locating their home rivers.

The effluent would contain chlorines, dioxins, metals and 935kg of solid materials per day. All of these can bio-accumulate, having catastrophic effects on marine life. Laboratory studies using individual chlorinated organic compounds that are commonly discharged from bleached pulp mills have demonstrated effects such as deformities, as well as embryonic and larval mortalities in fish. These chronic effects will jeopardize the future of many fish species and damage the integrity of the ecosystem.

Studies show dioxins contaminate fish and shellfish because fish act like sponges for dioxins, accumulating them at 25,000-50,000 times the concentrations present in their environment. Fish species 250 miles away from the source have been impacted.

There are many scientific studies that show the risk and harm that will come from this effluent proposal with some of them being from Environment Canada, Health Canada and Trout Unlimited.

Why is the science being ignored?

Matt Dort

New Glasgow