Left Toronto at 8:00 for Sarnia. Took the camera, GPS, cooler, sampling tackle box and enough sample bottles for e-coli to cover the St. Clair River and the Grand River in Waterloo.
In Sarnia, the weather was clear and cool, 5-10 C. The river seemed higher than the last time Jennifer was in Sarnia, as many of the pipes she sampled in August were not visible today.
At the Northern Inlet pipe - located in the federal government inlet just next door to St. Clair Bay - the big pipe was causing problems.
Many fishermen were lined up on the shores and piers, while fishing boats trawled the near shore waters. All were there for the extraordinary fishing in the area. I talked to a number of the fisherman about the fishing and about if they knew of the sewage pipe in the area. Without exception, the fisherman pointed me to the two pipes on the north corner as being the "shit hole."
One pipe was said to suck in water from the bay while the other intermittently discharges raw sewage into the water. The "floatables" that came with the brownish/green discharge were a sure giveaway of human sewage and plagued fishing line hooks as well. Not an easy job of getting these things of the line without cutting the hook.
When I was there from 11:00 - 11:30, there was a distinct smell coming from the pipe but no discharges. The fisherman told me it had just finished a big spill before I arrived and another would follow within a couple hours. I asked how they knew another would follow and they told me that they fished the area for years and every time they are there, rain or shine, the pipe has blown sewage.
I couldn't stick around today, but I sampled the area adjacent to the pipe ? labelled ?Northern Inlet? ? and moved on.
I walked the whole shoreline but was unable to sample any other pipe?s sampled by Jenn. I did however sample the Beach ? labelled ?Beach?.
Besides the fish and fisherman, I was surprised to see so many ducks and geese in the Bay. Must have been almost a thousand birds, spread over the river and bay.
Placed samples in cooler in car and drove to Kitchener.
Early in the morning, I picked up Kitchener's most famous photographer - Barb Davidson from the Dallas Morning Times - and went off to the Grand River. We sampled four locations. Upstream - a location upstream from the bridge and the Laurel Creek inflow. Laurel Creek - just before the creek discharges to the Grand River. The treatment pipe - at the mouth of the pipe. Downstream - a few hundred feet downstream from the pipe.
We also ran in to Mr. Stumpf, who has lived for over 50 years on the banks of the Grans and swims in the river every summer without pause. We talked to him, took some notes and Barb took pictures of Stumpf and his dog Bears. Bears and my dog Mikita were in the Grand swimming and drinking the whole time.
Took samples back to cooler and drove to the laboratory in Burlington.
-- Mark Mattson