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Annapolis River - Sunscreen

Wastewater is cleansed by the sun

More on the Annapolis River:
Annapolis River:
Land of Evangeline

Apple Core:
Orchard blossoms in the valley

Fourteenth Colony:
An extension of New England

First Colony:
The beginning of European settlement in Canada

Grand Dérangement:
Deportation of the Acadians

For peat’s sake:
The ecology of peat bogs

Slippery business:
Eels and other catches of the Annapolis

Steal away:
Destination on the underground railway

Waste water is cleansed by the sun

The Annapolis River bulges and swells into the Annapolis Basin before surrendering its waters to the sea. The basin is a collector of pollution from the Annapolis River and its tributaries.

An innovative effort to stop the flow of pollution into the basin is being made by the Mi'kmaq community of Bear River. This river shares the Annapolis Basin with the Annapolis River. In this community, the first greenhouse sewage treatment plant in Canada uses sunlight, plants, and fish to purify wastewater from homes and businesses.

From the outside, the sewage plant looks like an ordinary greenhouse. Inside, there is a series of transparent tanks, a pond, and an artificial marsh containing a variety of algae, water plants, snails, and fish.

First, solid items are filtered from the raw sewage which is then directed to an underground blending tank. Bacteria is added and air bubbled through the sewage to accelerate natural decomposition.

The wastewater is then pumped into the greenhouse. In the clear tanks, microscopic plant forms, including algae and zooplankton, use the energy they absorb from sunlight to digest nutrients in the wastewater. Snails also live in the tanks consuming organic matter.

The sewage then passes through the pond and marsh where bigger plants and fish consume the remaining nutrients.

The process of consuming organic matter in sewage converts the sewage to plant and animal growth, heat, carbon dioxide, and clean water. Solid particles and the plant life are collected for use as soil compost and fertilizer.

The water flowing out of the system is perfectly clear. It is disinfected by ultraviolet light before being released into the Bear River estuary of the Annapolis Basin. What is most distinctly innovative about the Solar Aquatics™ plant at Bear River is the fact that not a single chemical is ever added to the wastewater at any stage of the treatment process.

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