City water safe to drink: officials

Alisha Morrissey & Keith Gosse
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Heavy equipment crashes into water supply

Tap water from Bay Bulls Big Pond is safe to drink according to city officials after an accident that sent three pieces of heavy equipment into the regional water supply Wednesday, leaking fuel and oil into the water.

Officials with the City of St. John's are insisting there was no contamination to the water supply since the spills were contained on the surface of the pond and far enough away from the intake area of the water treatment plant to not affect it.

Tap water from Bay Bulls Big Pond is safe to drink according to city officials after an accident that sent three pieces of heavy equipment into the regional water supply Wednesday, leaking fuel and oil into the water.

Officials with the City of St. John's are insisting there was no contamination to the water supply since the spills were contained on the surface of the pond and far enough away from the intake area of the water treatment plant to not affect it.

Meanwhile, the driver of the truck was taken to hospital with non-critical injuries after witnesses came to his rescue.

Wayne Guest jumped out of his car, ran down over the bank and dove into the pond. He says when he got to the truck the driver was in a ball on the floor.

"I sat him up and waited for the paramedics to come," he said, emotions high after the rescue. "It's no big deal. It was something I had to do."

The man was conscious and able to tell officials that there were two full tanks of diesel fuel in the truck when it went into the water.

There was a strong smell of diesel in the area and a pool of the fuel could be seen on the surface of the water.

Officials aren't sure how much diesel fuel or oil was actually spilled as a result of the accident, but cleanup continued throughout the night.

Walt Mills, the city's head of engineering, said the fuel spill was about two kilometres from the intake area of the water treatment plant and that it seems to be staying on the surface of the water - nearly 35 feet above the intake pipes for water treatment.

Further, the city will carry out frequent tests of the water quality to ensure that it's safe to drink.

There were tire marks for about 75 feet before the spot where the truck went over the 60-foot embankment and witnesses said they thought they saw a tire from the truck fly off before the accident.

Work crews pulled the trailer from the water around 6:15 p.m., the backhoe came next around 7:10 p.m. and the truck was pulled out around 8 p.m.

Power remained off and the road remained closed until late into the evening.

An investigation into the cause of the accident has been launched.

Bay Bulls Big Pond is the largest water supply for the metro region.

amorrissey@thetelegram.com kgosse@thetelegram.com

Geographic location: Bay Bulls, St. John's

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Recent comments

  • Eli
    July 20, 2010 - 13:03

    Every report of an oil spill has been underestimated when the story breaks. It's much worse in the final analysis. Let's see how this one pans out.

  • for your
    July 20, 2010 - 13:03

    For those donny dooley. the accident was not the drivers fault. the truck had a faulty front retaining bolt which caused the tire hub and all to let go. the truck only had around 7k on it and was new. anyone who drives a truck like this will know that when something like this happens theres no stopping the truck.

  • Donny
    July 20, 2010 - 13:02

    Hopefully, this will be the last time this driver gets behind the wheel of heavy equipment. With this kind of driving experience he would do well as a taxi driver around St. John's...no offence!

  • Andy
    July 20, 2010 - 13:02

    Kevin, it must be very easy for you to plan and execute an operation like this, from, where, your armchair? The massive heavy trailor that was attached to the dumptruck was supposed to what, roll itself out of the way until they were finished with the truck? No, they were supposed to lift the trailor from the truck, and place it back in the water to help expedite removing the truck. Yeah, you must have known ALL of the details to post such an informed opinion and be confident that you knew what was best. What exactly are your qualifications?

  • Andy
    July 20, 2010 - 13:02

    Mr. Dooley, please refrain from making inappropriate judgements and insults about a situation that you do not have all the details about, and then following it with no offence. I think there is quite a bit of offence with what you said.

  • Mark
    July 20, 2010 - 13:02

    The man that was driving this truck i know him, and let me tell you DONNY DOOLEY he can handle this truck and for that matter a much bigger truck then this one. It wasn't his fault the tire came off of the truck.

  • Kevin
    July 20, 2010 - 13:02

    I see that removing the trailer that did not contain any fuel or oil was the first priorty to be removed from the lake. Makes sense to me to leave the truck with two full fuel tanks and the backhoe with its fuel in the pond while the wooded flatbed with rubber tires get priority. Who the hell is in charge of operations like this. Please review thier qualifications.

  • captain
    July 20, 2010 - 13:02

    Kevin do not be a numbskull. Of course the float trailer would be picked up with a crane before the removal of the dump, which needed to be done to make room to PULL the very heavy (gotta be 18 to 20 tons) dump truck out. Your qualifications on commenting should be checked, ya idijit.

  • DMann
    July 20, 2010 - 13:02

    Wow, Guys Really. I love The Negative Responses, Grow up!!

  • S. Bernard
    July 20, 2010 - 13:02

    Amazing comments so far. If Kevin was at the wreck site, he would have seen that both the trailer and backhoe were blocking the removal of the truck.

    To Donny, the truck was two months old and the wheel came off. How do you correlate driver experience with equipment failure on a new truck? And please don't argue that the driver should have checked the lugnuts until it is determined what the failure was. At this point it could have been a faulty part.

  • Dan
    July 20, 2010 - 13:02

    Donny, your an idiot, with your shoot first and ask questions later mentality, I hope youre not one of the people coming towards me on the Trans-Canada highway. The driver of that truck was not responsible for the incident. Some people have nothing better to do than play the blame game before the truth is out. I hate stupidity, and Donny youre stupid.

  • asdf
    July 20, 2010 - 13:02

    Why donny dooley, do you think that you would be able to control a dumtruck towing a float with a backhoe on top if one of the front tires fell off your dump truck? obvoiusly the man couldent stare hes truck with only one tire on the front. next time you make a comment get the full story first.

  • jim
    July 20, 2010 - 13:02

    Hey Kevin, was the trailer in the way of the other two? Was that the reason it had to be moved first? I am asking you because you are the only one around with the brains to be in charge of an operation this size. Oh and Kevo, if your so friggin smart, why are you comenting on this and insulting the people that were working here without knowing what you are talking about??

  • wow
    July 20, 2010 - 13:02

    i know that kevin has the qualifications he will be working with BP oh yes he be at it lol