Newfoundland and Labrador’s Department of Municipal Affairs and Environment is working with the Town of Deer Lake and the Town of Reidville on plans for the safe removal of debris from a Protected Public Water Supply area.

In April 2017, the department received complaints from a resident who had observed debris at the bottom of the Humber Canal. In response, the department conducted specialized chemical water testing in addition to its regular bacteriological testing. The department required that Deer Lake Power investigate the complaints; and the utility subsequently detected equipment and containers from forestry operations, which have likely remained undisturbed in the canal since the 1950s.

“The health and safety of residents is our number one priority. We have indicated that the debris must be removed from the canal, but we will not allow remediation to proceed until we are satisfied that an appropriate plan is in place that will ensure the continued protection of the water supply,” said Minister of Municipal Affairs and Environment, Eddie Joyce.

Deer Lake Power has applied for a permit for the remediation of the debris and the department has requested additional information regarding the proposed plan. While there is no immediate risk to the drinking water, removal of the debris must be done in a way that considers all potential impacts. Remediation work will not be permitted to commence until the department has received all necessary permits and has approved an appropriate remediation plan.

Humber Canal near Deer Lake. Credit: Tango7174

“The protection of the drinking water supply and our surrounding environment are our main concerns on this issue. We appreciate being engaged by government and being kept informed as matters proceed, and we look forward to seeing Deer Lake Power’s remediation plans for the canal,” said Dean Ball, May or the Town of Deer Lake.

Residents have been advised that drinking water continues to meet the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality and remains safe for use. As a Protected Public Water Supply area, testing for bacteriological and chemical components continues to be regularly conducted to ensure safety standards are maintained. In addition, specialized chemical testing was again conducted based on the current permit application and results indicated that there were no issues with the drinking water.


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