Excessive silt run off causing concern on the Exploits River

Valard Construction says crews are not to blame


Published on May 17, 2017

Grand Falls-Windsor, NL - An excessive amount of silt runoff is causing concern on the banks of the Exploits River after heavy rains in the region Tuesday.

Construction crews erecting hydro towers in the area of the old mill site were initially suspected by locals as the source of the silt. Large flows of brown muddy water could be seen racing through area culverts and tributaries Tuesday afternoon. 

“Stony Brook, it’s a bit of a mess there,” Environment Resources Management Association (ERMA) president Fred Parsons told the Advertiser. “That one is a bit of a nuisance spot all the time, but its worse now with these guys there.”

“These guys,” are workers from Quebec-based Valard Construction, contracted by the province. 

“The investigation that they’ve done so far doesn’t show any point source…,” said Carolyn Johns, project environment manager for Valard Construction. 

“Our closest structure that we’re working on there doesn’t seem to be contributing directly to it.”

The results of Valard’s initial investigation shows existing roadways, combined with excessive rain, seem to be responsible for the increased silt travelling downstream. 

Johns says Valard employees will place hay bails in area ditches to help slow down the travel of silt to the river, but says crews are not responsible. 

The investigation will continue, however.

“They are looking at a couple other sites just to make sure we didn’t miss anything … other than that, we’ll keep an eye on it,” Johns told the Advertiser.

Johns, currently in British Columbia, is travelling to the Grand Falls-Windsor site in the coming days. The trip, which had already been planned, will allow Johns to conduct an inspection of the issue in person.

“… I’m making my way out to Grand Falls-Windsor pretty much right away,” said Johns. “So I’ll pop out there and have a look myself, but from what I can infer … it just seems to be a temporary thing.”

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) says it has not received a formal complaint regarding the matter but will look into the issue.

The Advertiser will provide updates as more information becomes available.