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REPORTING · 26th April 2010
Merv Ritchie
Dr. Norma Kerby, an instructor at Northwest Community College (NWCC) attended the Regional District Kitimat Stikine board meeting Friday evening, April 23rd, with two of her Biology Students. She delivered a long and detailed expose’, on the disregard and pollution suffered in Hurley Creek, at the hands of humans. The Creek exhibits extremely high levels of nitrates, phosphates and iron. These pollutants appear to come from garbage and steel thrown into the creek and run off from septic fields.

Surprisingly the students discovered the creek populated with fry. The creek is alive but is in a serious state of high pollution levels. Citizens have had a big part of this issue, engine parts and tires laying in the creek but also the infrastructure of Thornhill, culverts and drainage systems have impacted the waterway.

The creek runs along is the lowest levels of Thornhill emptying into the Skeena. It catches all the runoff from upper Thornhill and the lower developed areas. All of the septic field seepage and industrial waste has the potential of being carried into the creek. Dr. Kirby held up a newspaper article from 1980 which reported on old drums of ‘Agent Orange’ being removed from the Ministry of Highways site, now Skeena Concrete Products, many of which were apparently empty. Director Ramsey clarified how this material would not show up as nitrates and Kerby acknowledged this but added that the chemical is accumulative, it doesn’t cleanse from a system.

As the creek is part of the lower subdivision much of it is considered part of the ditch, is blocked up at places and as it rises the basements of nearby properties are affected by the high ground water. This water is clearly not safe to have in a basement. Many of the properties adjoining the creek have built into the creek area, extending out beyond property lines, and interfering with the health of the creek.

Kerby spoke about how beautiful some of the area was for a walking trail and how area students might be able to get involved with the creek and help provide a better habitat for the Coho and fry while learning about the ecology.

“People don’t recognize this as a viable water way,” stated Kerby, “It’s been relegated to a ditch.”

Kerby described how all their testing was done very scientifically with her students in her Biology Class at NWCC. It was a study for training but requires serious attention and further investigation by the Regional District. The pollution rates are so high, she states, it is not safe to drink the water. She recommends more sampling to determine the bacterial issues and more complications which will kill off various species of life.

Watch the entire presentation HERE