- Our Town
Who’s responsible for the poo in “Poo Bay”?
Although I applaud the efforts of council and community to clean up Mannion Bay, to suggest this effort was anything more than a much needed face lift for this wounded environment is a stretch.
I believe that the Bay is indeed badly polluted but that if a real scientific inquiry was conducted it would be evident that the boats and their occupants and uses could only be considered as very minor contributors to the problem - possibly even less of a contributor than the local deer population.
Around 2000 the community had anecdotal evidence to suggest we may have a problem in the Bay.
Council agreed to put a few bucks into taking water samples and the results were not good.
As I recall the regional health authorities skin contact threshold for fecal coliform at the time was 200 ppm and we had results that ranged into the 1000’s at various times and tides during the test period.
I have not let my kids swim in Mannion Bay since.
Council and the CAO at the time determined that the Bay was not their jurisdiction and therefore its water quality not their problem.
From there the issue and data went to join decades of other data and studies collecting dust on the shelves and nothing more was said.
I believe the real culprit is the 300 plus septic fields in the Manion Bay watershed.
My rough count was 335 septic fields - all of these sitting in a very thin layer of dirt on top of bed rock or clay. Two of the worst types of strata for the dispersion of effluent.
It is very unlikely that you would find 100 fields that would pass a modern inspection. I wouldn’t be surprised to find many of the fields over 50 plus years old and some may even have old tanks with rock pits and no drainage fields at all. Who knows?
If there is untreated effluent leaving fields in this watershed then it has no where to go but into the Bay as it will not be absorbed into the clay or bedrock on shore.
My thought would be to actually determine the cause of pollution in “Poo Bay” by doing the simple testing required to determine the source of fecal pollutants.
If septic fields in the neighbourhoods on the North East side of the island, including Deep Bay and Miller's Landing, turn out to be the problem then we need to solve it. Last time I checked, it was a offence to allow untreated effluent to flow into the ocean.
Any solutions to such an issue will be very expensive but doubly so if we continue to to develop infrastructure plans for the Cove area in a highly compartmentalized fashion that does not consider the big picture and our long-term infrastructure needs in the whole cove area.