Lunenburg Harbour Monitoring & Waste Water System Study


The Town of Lunenburg is posting the first test results of its second season of voluntary harbour water quality monitoring today. The Town is also announcing that an engineering study is taking place this summer to review Lunenburg’s entire wastewater system and recommend potential upgrades.   

Harbour Water Monitoring 

The 2018 program of Lunenburg Harbour water monitoring is being independently administrated by the Bluenose Coastal Action Foundation (Coastal Action), a recognized Lunenburg-based environmental non-profit.  

Coastal Action have provided initial results for the month of June, and they will be posted on a weekly basis commencing July 4 on the Town’s website ( and social media pages. The weekly sampling occurs on the same day at the same time each week to ensure that the bacteria conditions are being measured under a variety of tidal, hydrological, and seasonal conditions. 

“The monitoring program that Coastal Action has designed for Lunenburg Harbour will provide a sound understanding of the bacterial conditions throughout the Harbour and how various environmental factors play a role in the movement and persistence of fecal bacteria contamination,” says Brooke Nodding, Executive Director, Coastal Action. “With this information we can work together as a community to reduce the various sources of bacteria entering the Harbour.”  

The 2018 weekly collection sites are different from 2017. This year, the focus is collecting at the shoreline at waterfront sites in the exact locations where recreational contact is likely to take place (i.e., boat ramps and floating docks).  

Bacteria conditions at the Broad Street Boat Launch and the Zwicker Wharf initially exceeded Health Canada’s Secondary Contact Guidelines for the first two series of reports, then fell within acceptable guidelines in the third and most recent results.    


The commercial Inshore Fishermen’s Wharf has been tested once this summer and measured 1600 enterococci/100mL. This Wharf is located near the outfall pipe where treated effluent from the Lunenburg Waste Water Treatment Plant emerges, and was therefore expected to fall in excess of recreational guidelines. Council requested this location to monitor and document the site to assist in determining improvements. The plant continues to meet Provincial and Federal guidelines for treated effluent. 

“We know there is more work to be done to improve the quality of the Harbour and water treatment, and we are committed to expanded monitoring, testing, and sharing of the results,” says Mayor Rachel Bailey. “In addition to improving public education and engagement, we are working with our federal and provincial counterparts to find solutions, as we all share this responsibility.”  

Lunenburg Town Council has partnered with Coastal Action to form a Lunenburg Harbour Health Advisory Group providing a forum for commercial, recreational and citizen engagement to jointly consider Harbour water ecology and means of improving it.   

The stakeholder engagement process will be coordinated by Coastal Action and begins this month. Lunenburg Town Council is actively seeking applications from interested Town of Lunenburg and Municipality of the District of Lunenburg citizens to serve on the Advisory Group. 

People accessing Lunenburg Harbour for recreational use should take precautions as they would at any commercial harbour.  

Wastewater System Study 

The Town has selected CBCL Ltd. Consulting Engineers to undertake a study beginning this month. CBCL will submit their report in fall 2018 for Town Council review.   

CBCL will examine the entire wastewater treatment and collection system, focusing on recommendations to further: 1) enhance treatment outcomes; 2) reduce sewer overflows during rain events; and 3) reduce odours in the collection system during warm weather periods. Advancements in treatment technologies will also be examined to determine if upgrades would be helpful, and if so, what the cost estimates would entail.   

“The Town of Lunenburg is investing in learning and improving,” said Mayor Rachel Bailey.  “With the award of this contract, we have access to technical experts; engineers who are leaders in wastewater treatment technology and design. We are confident that they will identify the opportunities and costs to enhance service levels.” 

“We look forward to working with the Town on this important project, as they demonstrate their commitment to environmental stewardship and continual improvement,” said David Trudel, senior CBCL Engineer. CBCL has provided professional consulting engineering and environmental services for municipal infrastructure, including water and wastewater treatment, for the past 60 years.   

Lunenburg currently has a $1.1 Million odour reduction “Biofilter” initiative under construction, designed by CBCL and being built by Mid Valley Construction, with funding assistance from the Federal and Provincial governments. Work on this project is scheduled to be completed by fall 2018. The Biofilter will treat air inside the main treatment plant and the aeration building.  

“Investing in the right expertise, study, and regular monitoring will help us better understand and apply the best solutions,” says Mayor Bailey. “We are grateful to the citizens who have expressed interest and who are contributing to the process.  We all want a healthy harbour and we will have to work together to achieve that.”

Addendum from Bluenose Coastal Action Foundation: