There are 243 boil-water advisories on public water systems in Newfoundland and Labrador. At this point in 2008 — a critical year when numbers spiked — there were 255.
Boil-water advisories can be temporary and simply the result of a day’s maintenance. However, this province has plenty of long-standing cautions, with some dating back to the 1980s.
Recently the City of St. John’s made a commitment to expand the parameters covered in its regular water quality testing.
But outside the city, there are residents on a town water system, paying water tax, who welcome even the possibility of a potable water system. That is, a station to fill up large bottles they can carry home, for access to safe drinking water.
The individual stories have popped up over time — a resident with a well suddenly run dry, a business owner claiming damage from town service, an individual upset by a grimy, coloured or smelly tap water they consider unfit to drink.
Over the next few days, The Telegram will be providing more information on water quality, with first-hand accounts of the hunt for clean water and examples of how both individuals and communities are finding their way forward.