This is an underwater screen grab of a video Richard Dewey took of the sawdust entering Deer Lake.
An official with Kruger says its team at Deer Lake Power properly handled the release of sawdust into the Humber River and an oil spill at the site this summer.
Earlier this week, Deer Lake resident Richard Dewey voiced his concerns over the impact both incidents could have on salmon stocks. He had taken his concerns to
Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the provincial Department of Environment and Climate Change, but both authorities indicated they had no concerns with either incident.
Jean Majeau, senior vice-president, corporate affairs and communications for Kruger in Montreal, said the company was authorized by the Department of Environment to use sawdust in the maintenance of the penstocks at the power plant.
“It is selected due to it being inert with respect to fish stocks,” he said.
To ensure there was no harm the company conducted an environmental study by third party experts. Majeau said they found no deterioration in the water quality.
The oil spill occurred Aug. 7.
Majeau said the resulting oil sheen, which is not easily quantifiable, was from bio-degradable grease that is injected into the wicket gates of the turbines that was flushed out as a result of sump water following the trip of two generators.
He said DFO and the provincial Environment Department were informed and a full assessment of the site was conducted during which minimal evidence of oil was observed.
“They got a copy of the action plan that was developed and deployed by the Deer Lake team and all the action items that were reviewed were considered appropriate by the authorities.”
DFO also forwarded the correspondence it received from Dewey to Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC).
In an emailed response to questions, the federal department said that over the past three years enforcement officers have responded to complaints regarding oil sheening on the Humber River.
Officers conducted an onsite inspection in August and no oil was observed. They also collected information regarding the chemical makeup of the oil being used and the department is awaiting an analytical review to determine if the oil involved is considered deleterious, or harmful, to fish.
In terms of the sawdust, the department said enforcement officers are looking into the situation to gather more information.
In both cases the department said if it is determined that there is a violation of the Fisheries Act, additional steps will be taken to address the situation.