PEI

Highway construction run-off makes mess in Hunter River

Residents of Hunter River, P.E.I., are still trying to assess damage to the river and their property after heavy Friday produced heavy run-off from a highway construction site.

Residents of Hunter River, P.E.I., are still trying to assess damage to the river and their property after rain Friday produced heavy run-off from a highway construction site.

'With that much sediment going into the stream it's possibly enough of a level to kill the fish.'— Andrew Lush, Hunter River watershed group

Environmental measures put in place on the site were no match for the run-off of muddy water. The river that flows into the pond at Hunter River has gradually begun to clear, but that doesn't mean there hasn't been damage, said Andrew Lush, manager of the local watershed group.

"The pond was more than just running red. It looked like it was full of mud," said Lush.

The waters of the Hunter River are starting to clear. ((CBC))

"The problem with this pond is that it is filling up. It already has 14 feet of sediment in it ... It really needs to be emptied if it's going to continue to do its job properly.… with that much sediment going into the stream it's possibly enough of a level to kill the fish."

Lush said the pond may have to be dug out and the fish habitat restored.

"The next pond down, which is Campbell's Pond, that's really causing problems because it's heating water up five degrees, which is too hot. Too much of an increase in temperature for the fish to cope with, and especially the trout are being killed off by that hot water."

Property damage

Doreen Aghdasty, whose home is next to the highway, is livid over the damage. She's lost trees to the highway expansion, and then Friday's heavy rain washed out her driveway and sent gullies running through her property.

"They kind of fixed it up a little bit, but you can well imagine the erosion that happened," said Aghdasty.

The flood waters dug out deep channels in some places. ((CBC))

"I couldn't get in my driveway. Obviously they were here again trying to fill that up a little bit but certainly weren't concerned over the weekend whether I was able to get in here."

Aghdasty believes the run-off problems will continue as more of her land and trees are cleared to make way for the expanded highway.

"I think that I'm more upset that they didn't foresee," she said.

"They've had to scrap this over three times now, and they still haven't completed it, that it's actually workable. They're constantly changing on a daily basis and where does that leave me?"

Inspectors from the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans and provincial environment officials have been on site but were not available to comment Monday.

now