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Aug 6, 2019

New River Affected by Eutrophication; DOE says Sources include Industries

The New River in Orange Walk is being affected by eutrophication.  It is the increase of nutrients in the river which has been causing the harmful algal blooms, discoloration, stagnation and the fish kills that have been reported. On Monday, the media was taken on a tour of the river where the negative impacts were observed. As the town’s residents would know, the New River is an economic driver and home to fauna and flora which have also been negatively affected. The purpose of the tour was also to demand that the problem be addressed by the Department of Environment.  A few weeks ago, D.O.E. collected and tested water samples to determine the cause and source. The results are in and according to the C.E.O. in the Ministry of Fisheries, Environment and Sustainable Development, Doctor Percival Cho; many factors are contributing to eutrophication. Cho says that one of those factors is the pollution from several factories along the river bank.


On the Phone: Dr. Percival Cho, C.E.O., Ministry of Fisheries, the Environment and Sustainable Development

On the Phone: Dr. Percival Cho

“What they found is that the river is being affected in more than one ways. The first one is that there is high nutrient content concentration in the waters. The nutrients that they tested for are nitrogen and I believe phosphorous as well. The other factor is that the water temperature is higher than normal. Also besides that there seems to be effluent running off the town as well as other establishments along the banks of the river. So that is also feeding in nutrients from waste water and other runoff. Then they tested in the water itself, they tested for oxygen and that is rather low. One of those factors are combining to produce this phenomena known as eutrophication so that is why the water looks green. The sources of course of this runoff, is like I said the town, establishments along the river, agriculture runoff into the river from agricultural lands upstream and then B.S.I. as well. Everybody is focusing on the B.S.I. component. Previously they had dealt with it with B.S.I., recommended some adjustments to the water that B.S.I. releases into the river which is of course treated and settled and so forth is put in to the river. The main concern back then was the temperature of the water that goes into the river and it was a bit high.”

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