Top News

Chlorine leaking into Baie Verte salmon river hopefully resolved: Peach

The Baie Verte salmon river has chlorine leaking into it from the town’s water system. Council has applied for emergency assistance funding.
The Baie Verte salmon river has chlorine leaking into it from the town’s water system. Council has applied for emergency assistance funding. - Coretta Stacey photo

Levels were below acceptable: Mayor

BAIE VERTE, N.L. — Council and staff in Baie Verte are hoping it is third time’s a charm when it comes to addressing chlorine leaking into the salmon river in the new town area.

Chlorine gas dissolved in water is toxic to fish and aquatic organisms, even in small amounts. Its true impact on the ecosystem is determined by a variety of factors.

While the quantity of chlorine detected in the river was not obtained for this article as of deadline, Baie Verte Mayor Brandon Philpott said it was below acceptable levels deemed safe for the survival and consumption of salmon and trout.

The resolution of the issue took some time and effort by the town.

The presence of chlorine was detected last year by Environment Canada officials. It was first discussed in a public council meeting in September. At the time, town crews discovered a leak, dug it up, and fixed it. The problem was expected to be resolved. However, subsequent testing again revealed chlorine in the river.

Because this area of town is not the only one experiencing leaks in the aging infrastructure, the town purchased its own leak detecting equipment.

The process was repeated. Again, the mayor said the problem was expected to be resolved. It was not.

“The leak is running right next to the bank, so I don’t see how it can be fixed other than to replace the whole line,” Philpott said several weeks ago. “We are trying to devote whatever we can to make sure it is done. We want to see it fixed, and we thought we fixed it twice obviously.”

The town went to its engineers for a recommendation. Council and the town also applied to the province for emergency assistance funding to replace the entire line that services the new town site and South Shore Drive areas. The mayor said the replacement is estimated at $200,000-$300,000.

“We have money allocated for capital works funding and everything else, so we just can’t come up with $300,000 off the top of our head,” he said. “After we tried to fix it to the best of our ability, we had no choice but to look somewhere for assistance.”

Philpott said town staff were also exploring potential federal funding sources.

However, recently, Brian Peach, the town’s chief administrative officer, informed The Nor’wester the problem had been addressed and the water line would not have to be replaced.

The town is waiting for a follow-up check from federal officials to hopefully close out the file.

Leaks throughout the entire town’s system are a costly problem, according to Philpott, not just from the standpoint of repairs, but the loss of treated water.

Did this story inform or enhance your perspective on this subject?
1 being least likely, and 10 being most likely

Recent Stories