Harbour Dredging

The Ocean Falls harbour had to dredged from time to time. The mill was depositing a fair amount of organic material in the harbour. This was back in time where concepts, such as air and water pollution, were fairly new words. A large dredge was brought in from Vancouver complete with skipper and dredging crew. The dredging crew was housed, I believe in the old long bunkhouse. To get out to the dredge, the crew had to walk for about 8 minutes down to the wharf, where a boat would take them out to the dredge. The dredging crew was certainly not used to the heavy rainfall in Ocean Falls and they were complaining. The crew decided to request that they be driven by taxi to and from the dock if it was raining. Considering that there was only one taxi in Ocean Fall,s and that the walk was only 5 to 8 minutes, the boss of the dredge said, that he would have to think about their request. A week later the boss called the crew together. He opened a large box just received from Vancouver. Out of it, he pulled the most beautifully coloured ladies umbrellas and handed one to each crew member. This story spread fast in town and there was a smile on everybody's face every time a dredging crew member was spotted, usually without his umbrella.

The majority of organic material drifting out into the harbour came mainly from the Groundwood Mill and consisted of wood slivers and some pulp. It was claimed by some people, that some of the fish caught in the Ocean Falls inlet had wood slivers inside them. I believe this is a tall story since I do not remember anybody fishing in the Ocean Falls inlet close to the Mill. However, the deposit of organic material did create some special effects on the water outside the Mill. When the Bay was calm, enormous bubbles of gas from the decomposing organics would be released from the bottom of the harbour. These large bubbles were easily visible from the engineering office facing the harbour. Unfortunately, the smell from these eruptions were not pleasant, should the wind blow towards the Mill.