Municipal Affairs and Environment
February 19, 2018

Planning Begins for Remediation Work in Humber Canal

The Department of Municipal Affairs and Environment is working with the Town of Deer Lake and the Town of Reidville regarding plans for the safe removal of debris in the Humber Canal.

In April 2017, the department received complaints from a resident of visually observing debris at the bottom of the 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.

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 to the highest safety standards. Remediation work will not be permitted to commence until all necessary permits are in place and an appropriate remediation plan is approved by the Department of Municipal Affairs and Environment.

Residents are advised that drinking water continues to meet the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality and remains safe for use. The Humber Canal is a Protected Public Water Supply area, and as such, 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.

“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.”
Honourable Eddie Joyce
Minister of Municipal Affairs and Environment

“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.”
Dean Ball
Mayor of the Town of Deer Lake

“We have met with the Provincial Government and have been assured that the minister and the department will not allow work to begin until it’s been determined that our drinking water will remain some of the cleanest on the island, and that the fish, their habitat, and the environment will continue to be protected.”
Roger Barrett
Mayor of the Town of Reidville

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Media contacts
Erin Shea
Municipal Affairs and Environment
709-729-2575, 725-4321

Maxine Hayden
Town of Deer Lake

Roger Barrett
Town of Reidville

2018 02 19                                                   4:15 p.m.