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Bubble bath bandits in Newfoundland attempt to turn river

Leeanna McLean
Digital Reporter

Friday, July 29, 2016, 10:26 AM - Officials in Conception Bay South, Newfoundland are urging residents to not add soap to Manuels River after staff at the nearby interpretation centre found empty bottles littered around the popular swimming hole Monday.

"Soaps can actually cause fish to lose come of the mucus covering they have on the outside of their skin which makes them susceptible to disease and to parasites," Dr. Rod Taylor of Manuels River Interpretation Centre told CBC. "It can also affect insect larvae to prevent them from growing naturally."

The chemicals can seriously harm wildlife as the soap can change oxygen levels in the water, Taylor added.

RELATED: Frozen soap bubbles look like small works of art

Officials determined that a portion of the river had been slightly dammed with pieces of boardwalk the vandals appeared to have taken from the trail that lines the river.

Repairs on the trail are often difficult to do as the interpretation centre is about a 2.5-kilometre walk from the swimming hole and where the damage was found.

"To actually get materials in here to do repairs on the trail, or to have to carry out large amounts of garbage is very difficult," Taylor told CBC. "We can get a wheelbarrow probably about two-thirds of kilometre from the centre upstream, the rest of the way you walk through the forest."

The vandals have yet to be identified but staff are asking the public to come forward with any information they may have on the incident.

"If you see other people doing this, or getting ready to do this, please point out to them the damage they're doing - or let us know here at the Manuels River Hibernia Interpretation Centre, and we'll do whatever we can to prevent it happening," the centre posted on Facebook.

The Manuels River experience - Timeline | Facebook

Not too far away from where the vandals left their bubble bath evidence lies 500-million-year-old fossils. The provincial government passed legislation to protect the site five years ago, added the lead interpreter.

"It's an important locality that scientists have been working on periodically since the 1870s when they were first discovered," Taylor told CBC.

People or organizations involved in polluting Manuels River could face a hefty fine or jail time, according to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

"It's certainly something that's not just a fun and games situation on the river," Taylor said. "It can lead to legal and financial problems."


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