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article imageNova Scotia oil spill caused by vandalism poses threat to salmon

By Stephanie Dearing     Nov 9, 2009 in Environment
An apparent act of senseless vandalism saw the unintended release of about 600 litres of oil from an outdoor fuel tank at Buddy's Billiards and Social Club in Sackville, Nova Scotia on Sunday.
The oil leaked into the soil and was washed into the nearby Little Sackville River. Local environmentalists are afraid that the oil leak has possibly killed off thousands of Atlantic salmon eggs. The river is home to 13 species of fish as well as other animal and plant species. The oil was washed into the river through storm drains. The President of the Sackville Rivers Association, Water Regan told press, "It's bad enough when it happens accidentally but [to] just deliberately happen, it's just atrocious. This is the Atlantic salmon spawning time. This oil will have a negative effect on Atlantic salmon eggs."
Investigating police attended the scene at 9 am Sunday and discovered that a copper line was cut, allowing the fuel to escape. Neighbours noticed the oil and called the fire department. The fire department managed to contain some of the oil in the river. The police and fire department were complemented with the presence of agents from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, representatives from the local municipal water association and federal and provincial environment officials. The investigation is continuing, and the RCMP have said they will examine surveillance tapes to see if they can glean clues as to the identidy of the perpetrator.
The fire department used booms and pads to contain the oil and the contained oil was pumped out into containers. Contaminated soil was dug up with a backhoe. Akram Ribahi, the owner of Buddy's Billiards told press that his insurance company said it may not cover the clean-up costs. Ribahi said "I lose my mind. Maybe I have heart attack now.”
The exact amount of oil that got into the river is not known, but because the fuel tank had just been filled last week, it is estimated that 600 - 700 litres were lost. If caught, the perpetrator could face charges of mischief over $5,000.
Regan said that the spill would kill a number of species besides the fish eggs, such as insects, and the spill would have a negative impact on the ecosystem within a six-kilometre stretch along the river “We’ve spent 21 years trying to restore the river. Overall, the water quality’s very good. And to have this useless, senseless act happen for no reason is very disheartening.” The group was expected to inspect the river Monday to try to get a sense of the damage.
Sackville is situated on the outskirts of Halifax. The Little Sackville River flows into the Bedford Basin.
More about Oil spill, Atlantic salmon, Buddys billiards social club, Little sackville river, Sackville nova scotia
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