Some visitors to Halifax’s Black Rock Beach this weekend were grossed out by the site of washed-up trash — a problem that was thought to have been fixed.
The $333-million cleanup of Halifax Harbour was declared complete in 2011 but people out for a walk on Sunday noticed an abundance of brightly-coloured tampon applicators that had accumulated on the beach.
Many people on the beach agreed that the trash is unsightly.
Jogger Nikole Poirier questions whether other contaminants could be entering the harbour.
"What about all the smaller particles and toxins that we can't see? If this is what we can see, what can we not see?" she asked.
James Campbell, a spokesperson for the Halifax Regional Water Commission, said the three sewage treatment plants were working, and there has been no malfunction in recent weeks that would release "floatables" into the harbour.
"There should never be floatables entering the harbour, because the system is designed to treat that. All the floatables are screened out," said Campbell.
Even during overflow from a heavy rainfall, Campbell said litter shouldn't be making it through special screening chambers. He said that snow enters the treatment system more slowly than rain so even a large amount of snow would not affect the overflow chambers significantly.
As a result, Campbell said he’s not sure where this trash is coming from.
"This material could be coming from across the Atlantic, it could be coming from another jurisdiction, it could be old material that has been on a beach," he said.