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Sep 20, 2019

Aerators in New River are Effective, but Concerns Grow as Rains Flush Pollution into Corozal Bay

There is an update tonight on the condition of the New River; the Department of Environment is reporting a level of success with the installation of aerators at various points of the river in Orange Walk Town where they introduced oxygen back into the water.  But there is concern that sediments will flow downstream and drain into the Corozal Bay.  Here is Dalila Ical with a report.


Dalila Ical, Reporting

Over a week after aerators were introduced into the New River, the Department of Environment reports the measure is proving successful.  Four of these were installed along the stretch of the river that passes through Orange Walk Town, where the pollution was heaviest.


Edgar Ek, Deputy Chief Environmental Officer

“Conclusion is, basically yes that the aerators have provided very good results. You have seen that the DO level has increased. After the application of the aerators total dissolved solids, the impacts are only influenced between a distance of fifty feet above and below the aerators and then the H2S levels had been substantially lower than previous information that was recorded. Consequently the recommendation was made to the task force for us to continue the implementation of this technique within the impacted area, as a remedy, not as a solution to the current degraded water quality of the New River.”


The aerators are operational only during the day. Suggestions to run them for a twenty-four hour cycle were rejected for fear of it increasing the emissions of hydrogen sulphide into the atmosphere.  Although most of the visible pollution washed downstream, additional water quality testing was conducted in the area of Guinea Grass Village and the results were similar.

The Department is now shifting its attention further downstream from Orange Walk Town. On Thursday, Ek met with the chairman of Caledonia Village in the Corozal District and the school management to share information on the problem, what to expect and not to panic. They will also be visiting Libertad Village to do the same.  And as the rains continue, sediments continue to flow downstream; it is only a matter of time that the Corozal Bay is affected.


Edgar Ek

Edgar Ek

“It’s a huge concern for the department. However, there is nothing much we could do to stop it from flowing into the Corozal Bay. We are not sure to what extent the damages will be hence we are also doing water quality analysis. We are working along with SACD to conduct baseline water quality analysis from Corozal Bay going way down to headwaters. That will give us an indication how our water quality stands and then we will be monitoring once all of this reach the Bay. We will continue to do monitoring to evaluate and then I think we will have to find a strategy on how to deal with the problem because right now we do not have an idea what is going to be the extent of, again once it reaches the ocean, dilution starts to take place and we will see what the measures will tell us.”


The Department has installed aerators in the area of Caledonia Village and continues to evaluate other options. One of these is the use of Effective Microorganisms.


Edgar Ek

“We don’t want to introduce any additional substance any additional stress to the already degraded water system that we have right now. Hence the reason we are not, we have put that process and looking at it very slowly.  We will do further assessments. What we were thinking about is to conduct a pilot. Locate an area that would be, serve very good as a pilot for the introduction of EM and then we will see whether the results are promising or not.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Dalila Ical.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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