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Water Today Title July 7, 2022

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Asvisory of the Day



The town of La Scie on the north east coast of Newfoundland has been under a boil water advisory (BWA) since 1991.

Named by a French fisherman, who thought the jagged surrounding hills look like the teeth of a saw, La Scie is home to just under 900 people.

The town draws its water from Stakes Pond, located on higher ground just south of the city.

A representative for the Department of Municipal Affairs and the Environment in Newfoundland confirmed via email that the BWA is in place, "Because the town's drinking water system has no disinfection system."

Furthermore, they wrote, "The Water Resources Management Division of the Department of Municipal Affairs and Environment has recommended that the town chlorinate its drinking water; but to date, the Town has chosen not to proceed with chlorination."

They added that, "The Provincial Government continues to work with municipalities to ensure that they have the capacity to maintain safe and sustainable communities. The department offers water system operator training to communities if needed and upon request."

Representatives for the Town of La Scie did not return calls before publication.

Celeste Colbourne has been operating the Fair Haven Retreat, a local Bed and Breakfast, for seven years.

"I don't want to see chlorine in our water because it would be a disaster for our environment," she said, "The community wants to keep the environment as natural and pristine as possible."

Colbourne believes the chlorine would just end up in the ocean and cause chaos to the creatures living there. She even goes as far as saying that a lot of people from town just drink the water from the tap without any problem.

For her business however, she has to make sure the water is suitable for out-of-towners.

"Last year over a period of four months I served 425 breakfasts," she said. "Honestly, you can't have people coming in that aren't used to drinking local water, so it has to be filtered," adding. "It doesn't bother me though because I have a two stage water filter, so I filter the water no matter what."

According to Colbourne, all the businesses in town have a similar system purchased from Cape John Industries.

She said there is little need to service the systems as they just use spin off Rain Fresh filters that can be bought at the local hardware store.

Marlene Regular works at Critch's Snackbar and Restaurant. The BWA has been around for so long, that she hardly gives it a moment's thought. "It's mostly what we've been used to for years," she said, "There's no chlorine or anything in the water, and (the town) doesn't have a treatment facility, so we boil water to use it for drinking."

Regular pointed out that there are two facilities within town that will fill big jugs for their water dispensers but for her own personal use, she tends to just boil water.

"Once you get used to stuff, it's just a way of life," she said.

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