06/14/2011 03:36 EDT | Updated 08/14/2011 05:12 EDT

Fraser River Salmon Inquiry: Fish Decline Due To Chemicals In Wastewater


THE CANADIAN PRESS -- VANCOUVER - A judicial inquiry into the decline of sockeye salmon in the Fraser River has heard that municipal wastewater is a cocktail of chemicals that can impact fish.

The inquiry heard that thousands of chemicals are discharged into the river every day.

Graham van Aggelen, who heads the environmental toxicology lab at Environment Canada, says most people believe wastewater treatment plants magically remove chemicals.

He says that may not be the case and that chemicals such as ammonia remain in the water.

Ken Ashley, who teaches in the Ecological Restoration Program at the B.C. Institute of Technology, says ammonia can be lethal, depending on temperature and other factors.