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Water Today Title November 25, 2017

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BWA of the Day - Portugal Cove South, NL

1984 - Oldest BWA in Canada 7/4/12

Portugal Cove South NL, a small fishing town 138 km south of St. John's, has the dubious distinction of having the oldest Boil Water Advisory in Canada. It was back in January of 1984 that the Newfoundland Labrador Department of Environment and Conservation posted the advisory, stating that total coliforms had been detected in Wrights Brook, the source of water for the tiny community of 224. Twenty-eigth years later the advisory is still in place. And the tiny town is not alone.

Newfounland Labrador has a high count of boil water advisories; with a total population of 514,536, the province currently has 167 water advisories. That's 1 per 3,081 people. High. The thing is our most easterly province is mostly made up of tiny communities with neither the population nor the resources to maintain water treatment facilities adequately. Advisories are posted, resolved and often reposted a few months later. While the provincial government does a valiant job of tracking all these advisories and posting them daily on their online list, providing adequate drinking water to sparsely populated communities, requires funds and expertise. A well known fact on First nation reserves.

So Portugal South is in good company when it comes to long-standing boil water advisories in Newfoundland Labrador; Pollards Point was advised to boil its water in 1987, Point Lance and Chanceport in 1989 and the list goes on.

There are also currently seven communites (all with great names) - Jean de Baie (1995), Baine Harbour(1995), Black Duck Cove (1995), Little St. Lawrence (1999), Shoe Cove (2005), St. Judes(2005) and Piccadilly Head (2010) - where, it would seem that the operator just threw his hands up and turned of the chlorination system due to lack of funds. At least, that what it said on the provincial advisory report until recently.

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