CLARENDON April 29, 2020
The homeowner at the centre of a controversy in Sand Bay related to an algae bloom near the beach, Sandra Wolf, is waiting on lab tests to confirm if the water is safe.
The algae bloom was spotted in the early spring as the ice on the river receded. Since the spring melt and with the river’s level rising again, the algae has disappeared below the surface of the water and the homeowner says there is none in sight.
Residents raised questions last year when Wolf started construction on a new septic tank after her and her husband bought their home as a retirement spot.
With the emergence of an algae bloom this spring, residents have pointed the finger at her septic tank as the cause and posed questions to the municipality about the safety of the system.
But Wolf said representatives from the company that made the septic tank – BioNest – were at her home last week and performed tests on the water.
“The water sample they took was crystal clear and odourless,” Wolf said in an email.
She said BioNest wasn’t scheduled to do the inspection until the fall but after receiving several calls from neighbours, they decided to come out and have a look.
“We are now awaiting lab results this week,” she added.
The construction on the septic system started last fall in order to replace the existing system Wolf described as “ancient.”
“I’m not an engineer but we bought the best [system] that we could get,” Wolf said last week. “To have a four-season house, it’s the best septic system we could get.”
Wolf has described her experience with her neighbours as exhausting since the installation of her septic tank.
“I’m tired and bitter,” Wolf said. “Months and months of aggravations, defamation, harassment.”
A representative of the Ministry of the Environment, Sophie Gauthier, said that the municipality of Clarendon issued the permit and the ministry is not responsible for approving the permit.
“The Department does not double-check the permits issued by the municipality, which is responsible for enforcing the regulations under its jurisdiction,” Gauthier said in an email. “According to information received from the Department, all indications are that the municipality has properly implemented the regulations.”
Gauthier said that if the ministry finds that the municipality is not holding a homeowner to the standards of the permit, it can force the municipality and the homeowner into compliance.
If that fails, the municipality could find itself in violation of the Municipal Wastewater Disposal and Treatment Regulations and face criminal proceedings.
However, Gauthier stressed that the municipality is not in that situation.
The Municipality of Clarendon’s Director General, Patricia Hobbs, declined to comment to THE EQUITY on the matter.
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