Sunnyside mayor pleased with water system progress

Pilot project set to continue through December

Ashley Fitzpatrick
Published on October 27, 2015

A pilot project attempting to bring the town water at Sunnyside within Health Canada guidelines is proving successful, according to Mayor Robert Snook.

“I feel really good about it. I’m really optimistic,” he said in a brief interview by phone Tuesday.

“The water is much improved. The taste in chlorine is gone. The smell of chlorine is gone. The water is generally much better and I’m sure, with time, is going to improve more.”

The town added a system (AVIVE) from SanEcoTec, treating local drinking water with hydrogen peroxide. The system is being tested by Sunnyside under a three-month project, cost-shared with the province at a total $338,100.

Related story:

Sunnyside hoping that pilot plant clears water concerns

The pilot was started Sept. 7 and the mayor said results are very promising to date.

A thumbs up overall would be good news, given a traditional water treatment plant would cost the community from $4 million to $5 million, he has estimated.

Like many communities in the province, Sunnyside has been otherwise using chlorine to keep dangerous bacteria out of its drinking water. However, the chlorine has been interacting with organic material to produce unacceptably high levels of byproducts — trihalomethanes (THMs) and haloacetic acids (HAAs) — considered probable human carcinogens at high levels. At times, more than 150 communities in the province have been facing the challenge of these chlorine byproducts, or not having enough samples to say either way if guidelines are being met.

“AVIVE represents a viable new water treatment for communities, homes, farms and businesses that face the potentially adverse health implications, costs and impacts from chlorine use,” stated a SanEcoTec press release, updating the progress in Sunnyside.

“AVIVE is particularly effective dealing with challenging surface water conditions such as those found in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador.”

If the pilot project provides overall successful results by the middle of December, Snook said it will be kept for his town, with other additions to the town infrastructure planned for the New Year to perfect the system — to filter more organics and maintain proper pH levels.

Snook acknowledged the current pilot has not been noticed by everyone in the community, as a result of a boil water order Service NL set in place in the days leading up to the start of the new system’s use, resulting from a detection of coliforms. That restriction remained, he said, while the pipes were flushed.

The boil water order was lifted Oct. 23.

For anyone concerned about byproducts or other possible contaminants in their own drinking water, personal home filters are an option.