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Halifax Harbour Clean - Up?


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#1 Terran

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Posted 10 May 2013 - 07:44 AM

http://thechronicleh...itorial-cartoon

So... Hali Harbour is in the news...yet again. This time the Navy has dumped (accidentally) 8000 - 10000 litres of diesel fuel into our beloved "toilet".

Here is the story:

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HMCS St. John's sits in Halifax harbour Wednesday morning, after it spilled fuel into the water. (TIM KROCHAK / Staff) Photo from the Chronicle Herald - http://thechronicleh...halifax-harbour


Military continues cleanup of fuel spill in Halifax Harbour
May 9, 2013 - 8:06pm CLARE MELLOR and DAVENE JEFFREY Staff Reporters

Military personnel and Department of Defence staff continued cleaning up a fuel spill in Halifax Harbour Thursday.

Although the exact size of the spill is not yet known, the navy estimates that between 8,000 to 10,000 litres of diesel fuel leaked from the frigate HMCS St. John’s into the harbour Wednesday morning as the ship was anchored off Dartmouth Cove.

Navy spokesman Lt.-Cmdr. Bruno Trembley said Thursday evening that they are fairly confident in those numbers, but they won’t know the exact size of the spill or exactly how it happened until the investigation is completed.

“The ship was preparing for fuelling,” when the leak occurred, Trembley said.

On board the ship, fuel from one tank was being pumped into another storage tank when the incident happened, he said. “It’s called internally consolidating the contents of our fuel tanks.”

By Friday afternoon, the military expects to be able to take the containment booms out of the harbour.

“The area they are cleaning right now is mostly in the vicinity of Alderney Landing. It is getting to the point where we have got mostly isolated pockets of sheen. The majority of it has all been cleaned up,” Mike Bonin, spokesman for CFB Halifax, said Thursday.

Six boats were in the harbour Thursday, and about 20 personnel worked along the shore on the cleanup, Bonin said in the afternoon.

Environment Canada officials were also on the scene again Thursday but did not respond to a media request for information.

“We are definitely working in co-operation with (Environment Canada) and we will keep working with them until they are satisfied that we have done all that we can for a good, safe cleanup,” Bonin said

Any member of the public who spots fuel on the water or around the shoreline can report it to an operations centre at 427-7043, Bonin said.

Mark Butler of the Ecology Action Centre said he is pleased with the cleanup effort.


Here is a link to the initial story: http://thechronicleh...halifax-harbour

Now accidents happen. That goes without saying... but 8 to 10 thousand litres of diesel?

So after the people of HRM have paid a fee on their water bills for the Harbour Clean-Up (for how long?); along comes the Navy and ... voila.

So in this situation...how do we recoup the damages?

The Navy and Environment Canada are on the scene...cleaning up. Our tax dollars. If Environment Canada charges or fines the Navy...our tax dollars. Federal Government pays some sort of compensation...again, our tax dollars.

No matter how you look at it...we pay.

The Harbour certainly has seen it's fair share of "accidents" and (of course) nearly 200 years of sewage. It is a working Harbour.

Also, we have the numerous Cruise ships ariving now. God knows if they're dumping their grey water as they enter our Harbour?

So here are a few questions.

How "clean" do you think the harbour will ever be?

How far and how much money should go into "trying" to clean it up?

Would YOU swim in Halifax Harbour?

Would you eat anything caught out of the Harbour? Mackerel? Lobster?

Do you have any suggestions in regard to assisting in improving the possibility of cleaning up the Harbour?


I'm just curious as to where folks stand on the Halifax Harbour clean-up. Some might consider it a lost cause; while others will suggest that, as part of our ocean, everything must be done to try to improve the situation.

What's your opinion?


Terran
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"In these sad and ominous days of mad fortune chasing, every patriotic, thoughtful citizen, whether he fishes or not, should lament that we have not among our countrymen more fishermen."  Grover Cleveland
 


#2 4fitzs

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Posted 10 May 2013 - 10:03 AM

Well this is an interesting topic...I will try to answer some of your questions.

How "clean" do you think the harbour will ever be?
I don't think there is a true measurment of a clean harbour,, Hfx is actually a fairly clean harbour as it has a large entrance and it is not a restricted waterway so the tide tends to keeep it clean.

How far and how much money should go into "trying" to clean it up?
Not sure of that one but there should be a continiuos updating of the sewage treatment systems so it does not cost much more down the road.

Would YOU swim in Halifax Harbour?
I have and I will,, I took my first dive in Hfx Hbr in 1974 ,, a lot nastier then,, and a lot more floatables..LOL

Would you eat anything caught out of the Harbour? Mackerel? Lobster?
I have eaten Mackeral form Eastern Passge area..same ones that swim up to the Basin,, they move with the tide.. I would not eat a lobster form the harbour,, but I have seen them being fished there

Do you have any suggestions in regard to assisting in improving the possibility of cleaning up the Harbour?
Having worked and played on the Hfx hbr since 1974 I think the most important thing is to enforce the present evriomental laws,, I have seen old boats and wrecks sit there for years leaking fluids and rusting,, seems to be a lack of enforcment that has gone on for years

JMHO - ED

As for the Navy spilling the fuel --it was human error and I am sure it will happen again sometime in the future..remember Hfx is a working harbour and with the amount of traffic and commerce taking place there it is just a matter of time untill incidents like this happen.
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#3 Terran

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Posted 10 May 2013 - 10:25 AM

Thanks for the response 4Fitz. It is an ongoing discussion among some friends of mine. Thought I'd throw it out to our members to see where others stood on the issue.

Question: you posted: "I first drove in Hfx Hbr in 1974 "...Why'd you drive in the harbour? :lol: :lol: :lol: Just kidding.

Regarding your comment on "Hfx is a working harbour"...I agree ( as I posted). Herein lies part of the problem. It's never going to be pristine; nor do I expect it to be. Yet some seem to want to "promote" it as such; after the "clean-up".

How much money is enough in the effort. There are certainly lakes and rivers in the HRM that could use a little financial infusion in the "clean-up" department.

I agree with your answer to the last question:

"Having worked and played on the Hfx hbr since 1974 I think the most important thing is to enforce the present evriomental laws,, I have seen old boats and wreks sit there for years leaking fluids and rusting,, seems to be alack of enforcment that has gone on for years"

With regards to eating out of the Harbour...I'm on the fence. The Mackerel issue...yeah maybe. They are fast moving and in and out. Yet the psychological aspect is still...disturbing. I ask about the lobster because they are not only fished out of the harbour, but are stored there by certain fish companies.

I know a couple Navy divers who describe the Harbour bottom as "covered in a thick sludge" in some areas. Could be the 200 years of sewage? Not sure a few years of sewage treatment has erased the build up...just yet.

I try to fish elsewhere and avoid the Harbour. So I think I'd pass on anything out of it, for now.

It'll be interesting to see what others think.

Great post and thanks,

Terran
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"In these sad and ominous days of mad fortune chasing, every patriotic, thoughtful citizen, whether he fishes or not, should lament that we have not among our countrymen more fishermen."  Grover Cleveland
 


#4 Terran

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Posted 10 May 2013 - 10:44 AM

Oh yeah...regarding swimming in the Harbour; did you notice what it did to poor old Peter Kelly? :lol: :lol: :lol:

After his first swim he was hospitalized with an "unknown" stomach issue. As time passed and he tried it again, he started looking like he'd been converted by aliens. One sickly looking bugger. :o :blink:

Think I'd stay away, myself. Don't need any more health issues. :wacko: ;)

Terran
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"In these sad and ominous days of mad fortune chasing, every patriotic, thoughtful citizen, whether he fishes or not, should lament that we have not among our countrymen more fishermen."  Grover Cleveland
 


#5 Mick

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Posted 10 May 2013 - 02:43 PM

I would like to stat my opinion on the matter, but the Navy has it locked up in a cabnet along with my contract hahaha


But they never said i could not try and answer questions..

The 8 to 10 thousand liters of fuel is not unreasonable number considering they were pumping fuel, when you take into consideration the pumping rates. That being said it is a sad day for the harbour non the less.

The Navy and Environment Canada are on the scene...cleaning up. Our tax dollars.-- Both parties are Federal employees, making salary based pay. So regradless of what "job" they have to do on a given day the pay will be the same, but yes our tax dollars. My point being, there is no over time and they would have been paid anyways.

How "clean" do you think the harbour will ever be?
To have a truly clean harbour, we need to start with the ocean. This is a very small planet and I for one am sad to say that if you spend at least an hour looking over the side of a ship while steaming along, no matter if it is just out side of a harbour or the middle of the atlantic there is a very good chance you will spot at least one piece of man made filth floting along.

I have eating Mackerel from the harbour, and well i enjoy lobster as much as the next bluenoser. I think its fair to say at least one of those tastie bugger's most likely came from the harbour, truly i will never know, nor do i want too...

As for the other questions, I think Ed has hit the nail on the head and i would only echo his reply.
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#6 Terran

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Posted 11 May 2013 - 07:13 AM

Mick,

Thanks for your post and your service to our Country.

My comment on "tax dollars" wasn't a suggestion of excess salary being spent. More of a statement to preface the fact that there is no situation in which there is any solution that didn't involve tax dollars. No way to recoup the loss, as there might be with a private company.

Aside from regular salary, I would imagine that the materials being used in the clean-up are also fairly costly. Still glad that they are doing the job though.

Interesting comment regarding the state of the ocean. I posted a video, on this site, that showed the garbage vortices collecting in the gyres of the oceans. Truly amazing stuff. Take a look at a couple of these:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-gqJAsXiKQ&feature=share&list=PLA236D8A8621DAE5B


http://youtu.be/VT4GUhWMjog

(If anyone is interested search "Atlantic" or "Pacific" "Garbage Patch" on Youtube or Google.)

I guess the videos above make a bit of my point. "Civilization" (I use the term loosely) has been using our oceans for "toilets" for thousands of years. Aside from what we see, how much is being dumped that never see's the light of day?

This is where I'm totally torn on this issue.

On the one hand, I am totally for the conservation of our oceans. The dumping of everything needs to stop. The oceans are already showing the signs of a greater disaster ahead. But this is a Global issue.

On the other hand, how much difference does the pittance our government is applying to the issue make? The sewage treatment facilities are already described as inadequate and needing. Of what relevance are they in the "Big Picture"? Especially, when there are far greater immediate concerns that our meagre tax dollars could, or should, be applied too.

For instance, fresh water is being described as the next "big" environmental issue facing the World's populations. This is one of hundreds of articles and reports on the subject (that can be found on the internet):

The Coming Global Water Crisis - http://www.theatlant...-crisis/256896/

Not to mention the social issues that are of great concern.

So, I guess the question is, "How much is enough and should these funds be utilized on this issue or elsewhere?"

I know it's a large question and that there is probably a vast disparity of opinion.

There is no simple answer, yet I think it's an important question worth asking.

Thanks,

Terran
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"In these sad and ominous days of mad fortune chasing, every patriotic, thoughtful citizen, whether he fishes or not, should lament that we have not among our countrymen more fishermen."  Grover Cleveland
 





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