Debris is piled beside Grassy Brook. ((courtesy Bob Rutherford))

A environmental consultant says he has traced problems at Lake Micmac and Grassy Brook, a stream that feeds into it,to municipal development at the Burnside industrial park.

The Halifax Regional Municipality has placed two massive piles of debris from clearing areas for new lots and a soccer fieldat the start of Grassy Brook, said Bob Rutherford, who specializes in rivers and streams and hasbeen workingat the Dartmouth Crossing retail development.

Hesaid those piles are leaching into Grassy Brook, whichbegins in the bogs of Burnside, meanders through Dartmouth Crossing and ends up in Lake Micmac.

"It's taken the oxygen out of the water. It's so low we don't see a green plant, an insect, and it's way below what a fish can survive in," he said.

In addition, Rutherford added, parts of the stream are starting to smell like rotten eggs.


This dead trout was found in Grassy Brook. The open mouth and gills are typical of death as a result of low oxygen, environmental consultant Bob Rutherford says. (Courtesy Bob Rutherford)

The downstream impact on Lake Micmac is now noticeable, as one end of it is filling up with reeds, cattails and green algae.

"This growth has really just happened over the last month or so," said Rutherford. "It's phenomenal the way it's taken off."

The Dartmouth Crossing retail developmentcreated silt problems last year. Rutherfordsaid thatwas cleaned up but in July he became suspiciousthat Grassy Brook is dying and Lake Micmac is turning into a marsh.

Rutherford said there appears to be no other cause for the pollution than themunicipal development.

Hecontacted the provincial Environment Department and the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans but they have yet to come up with a solution.


The area of Lake Micmac by Dartmouth Crossing is turning green. ((Pam Berman/CBC))

Andrew Younger, who represents the area on Halifax regional council, is embarrassed the municipality is responsible. He wants the debris piles removed before the trout spawning season in October.

"My feeling on this is HRM can't ask others to do something it won't do itself," Younger said.