Friday, April 8, 2011

Merrimack River - Rounding Up Disks near Southwell Park

This morning I decided to see, first hand, if any of the Super M IFAS plastic media disks, that recently escaped from the Hooksett, NH wasterwater treatment plant, were lingering in the Merrimack River.  Hooksett officials estimate that approximately 4 million disks made it into the Merrimack back on March 6th.  Large numbers were being seen some 40 miles downriver in the Newburyport area.
I launched into the Merrimack in Chelmsford at Southwell Park, directly opposite the intake for the City of Lowell's drinking water treatment plant.  Before even getting in my boat I was rounding up disks at the boat ramp.  Several were placed on my boat's  hatchcover to give folks an idea of their small size...
Once on the water, I headed upriver hugging the western shoreline.  Trash and disks were plentiful all along the riverbank.  After going about 1/2 mile upriver I encountered a large amount of flotsam being held behind a fallen tree trunk.  Going closer to recover some bottles brought quite a few plastic disks into view....

It didn't take long to go from about 500 gathered along the riverbank to my final total of 700 disks.  These combined with 130 pieces of the more usual trash resulted in a grand total of 830 pieces of trash. Back at Southwell Park the whole bunch gathered hullside for this portrait...
The haul brokedown as follows: 71 recyclable containers (4 redeemable), 59 pieces of miscellaneous rubbish such as plastic bags, styrofoam etc., and the 700 plastic media disks from Hooksett.  The large amount of beer cans were purchased in NH and as such are not redeemable in Massachusetts.  My YTD total stands at 1508.
I found my kayak to be the ideal vessel to get into the areas where the plastic disks remain trapped behind snags etc.  To the folks at Hooksett, Kruger Inc., Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies I say "Y'all know me, know how I earn a livin'.   I'll round up thousands of these birds for ya.  Just pay me a reasonable rate and for that you'll get the head, the tail, the whole damn thing."

2 comments:

Harry said...

Great blog! Discovered you on a search of the Hooksett disks. Love what you're doing. I do similar things along the coast of Saco, Maine -- collect trash, record it, report it, try to make a difference if I can. (I'm at http://theflotsamdiaries.blogspot.com) Thx for all you do!

-- Harry

Suasco Al said...

Thanks Harry, I just enjoyed a visit to your fine blog The Flotsam Diaries. I can still smell the salt air and feel the sand under my toes. You have some great info on the myth of plastic recycling. I never realized it was that hollow of a promise.

I've always admired the the character Ben Knox in the movie "Local Hero". He was a first-class beachkeeper! He even knew how many grains of sand could be held in one's hand!
Best regards and keep up your good work, Al