Port Maitland - Some Port Maitland residents say the local sewage treatment plant is polluting the harbour with raw sewage.
Patti Ellis Cleveland created the Facebook Group Save Port Maitland Beach after she heard some “chatter about the issue” in another group of hers.
“I created the new group and suggested that it be used as a place to house pics, info, etc.,” she said.
Since then, pictures of swirling tannish-grey water with flecks of white floating in the harbour have been posted. There have been accounts of “rotten” smells and some people have seen wads of toilet paper in the effluent.
This summer, Port Maitland Beach and Mavillette Beach were closed to swimmers for several weeks because of a high bacteria count.
Municipality of Yarmouth CAO Victoria Brooks said the municipality was engaging and co-operating with the Nova Scotia Department of Environment on their investigations.
“Several staff members from the department have visited the Port Maitland Sewer Treatment Plant and other properties in Port Maitland,” she said.
“The municipality continues to follow standard protocols and testing to ensure our history of above minimum standard performance of the Port Maitland Sewer Treatment Plant,” she said.
Bruce Nunn, media relations officer for the Department of Environment, says the areas depicted in photos showing pollution were inspected with no signs of release found. The sewage treatment plant was inspected in August.
“We received a complaint about this issue, inspected, and found no signs of a release in the water. We had inspected the sewage treatment plant in August during the period when the Port Maitland Beach was closed to swimming and we verified that the facility was in compliance,” said Nunn.
Port Maitland resident Terry Outhouse says he has seen significant discharge coming from the outflow pipe behind his house in the past but that it stopped on Sept. 17.
“Everybody’s disappointed with the investigation,” he said.
“Environment told us that if we do see it again to give them a call. I said if I call you at 10 o’clock, when are you going to be here? He said the next morning. I said what’s the good of that, the tide will have washed it out,” said Outhouse.
“We shut the tide gate today. If it does discharge big time, we’re going to shut the tide gate and hold it up there.”
Outhouse, a lobster fisherman, is concerned about the upcoming season. He says fishermen like himself will be hauling and holding a lot of lobsters in the area in a few months.