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Water Today Title October 22, 2018

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Waiting for lab results in Labrador City - 8/21/12

by Sean R. Aylward

Labrador City is a town in western Labrador near the Quebec border. As of 2011, its population was 7,367. The town was founded in the 1960s to accommodate employees of the Iron Ore Company of Canada, and iron ore mining continues to be the primary industry in the town.

On August 15, the Newfoundland Labrador Department of environment and Conservation posted a boil water advisory for Labrador City, stating that total coliforms had been detected and confirmed in repeat samples.

Coliform bacteria are a commonly used bacterial indicator of sanitary quality of foods and water. While they do not normally cause serious illness, their presence is used to determine if other pathogenic organisms of fecal origin (such as E.coli) may be present.

We contacted mayor's office to find out more about this water advisory but have yet to hear back. Although we were unofficially told that the advisory remained in effect because two tests with clean results were required before it could be rescinded.

According to Elaine Philpott, the General Manager of the Two Seasons Inn in Labrador City, 'it's a major pain in the you know what. 'With no light at the end of the tunnel in sight were just trucking along'. The Inn is providing 10 bottles of water per room per night. Their restaurant is boiling water and also making use of exorbitant amounts of bottled water. Bill Gridge, manager of the IGA, says so far there hasn't been any strain on supply of bottled water for the community. Priced at $5.79, cases of water seem to be mostly a pain in the neck for the local businesses that are forced to buy them to save time from boiling their drinking and cooking water.

Labrador City's website states that Beverly Lake, located to the northeast of the town, is the only municipal water supply source for the Town of Labrador City. Water is chlorinated at the pumphouse and pumped into a 2270m3 (500 000 Imperial Gallon) reservoir. This reservoir supplies the entire Town's water distribution network, which services approximately 3200 households and businesses.

To ensure drinking water quality, a Bi-Monthly Bacteriological Water Analysis is conducted at the Health Labrador testing lab in Happy Valley, Goose Bay, which is 534km away, an eight hour and 21 minute drive. Hence the delay in delivering results, we presume.

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