Polluted waterway in Saint John showing signs of recovery
A polluted waterway written-off decades ago as little more than an open sewer, is now showing unexpected signs of recovery.
So much so, that Marsh Creek in East Saint John is now being considered as a possible recreation site, and even a fish habitat.
Gerry Webster’s office building overlooks marsh creek, a waterway that winds through industrial and residential areas of the city.
Webster says there’s a transformation taking place there.
“Change has been incredible,” he says. “Wildlife has returned here. We don’t get any foul odors of any sort. The river looks to be clean, which it never did before. It was pretty bad.”
There was a time when Marsh Creek was among the most polluted waterways in Eastern Canada, and it had been for generations.
No one alive today can remember a time when the water in Marsh Creek was actually clean.
Outflows that used to dump raw sewage are now dry.
The harbor clean-up project cost $100 million dollars and now directs all that sewage to the treatment plant.
In the past year, the creek has bounced back faster than anyone expected.
Graeme Stewart Robertson has studied Marsh Creek for more than a decade.
Since the clean-up, he has even seen a return of gaspereau.
“Which is something that was unheard of when the sewage was there,” he explains. “That chemical barrier is gone so now we have ocean run fish attempting to make their way back into an ecosystem where historically they would have been.”
Gerry Webster says cleaning up age-old pollution, is also helping to clean-up an age-old image.
Environmental groups are now eyeing Marsh Creek’s potential for walking trails and parkland, it’s an idea that would have been unthinkable a short time ago.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Mike Cameron.