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“New river stench will get worse before it gets better,” warns DOE

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Posted: Saturday, September 14, 2019. 2:07 pm CST.

By BBN Staff: The Department of the Environment (DOE) said today that it is taking steps to address the environmental issue causing the putrid stench from the New River, which is affecting communities in Orange Walk, but added the stench will get worse before it gets better.

In its update on the New River situation, issued today, the DOE explained that it has installed several aerators into the river, which will increase the water’s oxygen content, after a successful pilot project on September 9.

“The DOE advises the public to expect a period when the stench and hydrogen sulfide will peak but should normalize thereafter. This is normal since, whichever process is applied, a worse stage is initially expected but this should normalize after a period of time. Again, no significant negative impacts have been observed from the pilot phase, however, the public is also advised that rainfall on the river can also release the stench,” the DOE said.

The Department said that the efforts to address the situation at the river are being handled by the recently-established New River Task Force and that the site where the aerators will be monitored “diligently”. DOE also asked that users of the river take caution while navigating the river.

The Department explained that the stench coming from the river is the result of the water’s oxygen content being depleted. The depletion of the oxygen content produces several by-products including methane, carbon dioxide, and hydrogen sulfide among others causing the smell.

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