Not-so-muddy waters?

Diane Crocker
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

CORNER BROOK  Dan Mustard is concerned that a negative picture has been painted of his town, and he wants to correct it.

Mustard said the water woes in Howley are not as bad as presented in an article that appeared in The Western Star on Tuesday.

At last Saturday’s Great Humber Joint Council meeting, Coun. Don McLean brought a jar filled with muddy, dark brown water that came out of the humidifier on his furnace. He used it to highlight the problems with the town’s water supply.

McLean and Howley Mayor Calvin Samms, who also attended the meeting, said the town needs a new pump house and filtering system. Both also said that many residents have discoloured water flowing into their homes.

“Our councillor, although a good one, just got caught up in the moment and got ahead of himself,” Mustard said in an email to The Western Star, adding that he’s spoken with furnace contractors and was told that a buildup like that can occur in a humidifier anywhere in small town Canada. Mustard was told humidifiers should be cleaned on a regular basis due to iron particles in the water.

“It does not mean you’re breathing what you see,” he said.

The town’s water is tested on a regular basis by the Department of Environment and Conservation, Mustard said, and he has never been shown water looking like the sample McLean displayed, or anything close to it. In a follow-up phone conversation, Mustard said the water McLean displayed is not what comes out of the taps in Howley.

“You’ll get a brownish colour in your toilet and bowl,” he said, but added it is not all the time and not in all the homes.

“Some people get it a little bit. It’s sediment that floats around and certain times of the year, spring time, the water table is different from other parts of the season. But it’s not to the extreme of (the water in McLean’s jar). That paints a nasty picture, and it’s not.”

At least one Howley resident agrees with Mustard.

“When I saw the article I was shocked,” said Theresa Byrne. “Instead of taking it from the furnace humidifier, he should have taken it from the tap and then took some of our drinking water from the community centre.”

That’s exactly what Byrne did on Wednesday. She brought two bottles of water with her to The Western Star, one containing water from her tap, the other containing the filtered drinking water residents get from the town.

 “That’s not even as dark as ginger ale,” she said holding up the bottle of tap water.

Byrne said the sample McLean showed gives a false impression of Howley’s water.

“It’s never, never like what he had come out of his furnace,” she said, adding there are times when residents get some silt in their water, but nothing like what McLean collected.

“I know we need something done with the water system, but show it as it is, not something that comes out of the furnace.”

Byrne is also concerned about the negative impression the article could give anyone interested in moving to Howley, and thinks McLean owes the town an apology.

“We have a beautiful town with beautiful people and over the last year we have had at least four or five new families move to our town because they wanted to be here,”Mustard said in his email.

“We offer property to our future families and want them to be reassured Howley is here to stay and we offer them some of the finest and cleanest land this world has to offer. Howley is Newfoundland’s hidden gem and sometimes a picture is not worth a thousand words.”

Twitter: WS_DianeCrocker

Organizations: Great Humber Joint Council, Department of Environment and Conservation

Geographic location: Howley, Western Star, Canada Newfoundland

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page



Recent comments

    March 28, 2013 - 21:58

    It is too bad that this water issue has been blown out of proportion by others getting upset because of Mr. McLean's comments. He simply wants the best for his community where he chose to live out his retirement. I will add my opinion. I am retired and I would not advise any other retiree to come here to live because we have to get a car started, take our water jugs, drive up to the community hall and bring our water home, no matter what the weather is like. Seniors must have a car and be able to bring the jugs inside the home and have the driveway shovelled clear in winter. So Don McLean is one person on council who would like to have a clean water supply and what is wrong with that. Not all seniors are able to live under these conditions. If asked, I would not be able to advise those retiring to come here to live. This is a small town with small town problems. Why not work together to ensure that we have a decent water supply in our homes.

  • Don McLean
    March 28, 2013 - 16:28

    What I had in that bottle was the mud that came out of my humidifier. In order for that mud to be there it had to come out of the water system.I do clean my humidifier out on a regular basis and i do not need a contractor to tell me how a humidifier works.If it wasn't in the water system it wouldn't be in the pan on the humidifier.I did not say that this water came out of my tap. We can stick our head in the sand as long as we like and when we take it out it is still there.It is not going to go away. I do not owe anyone in Howley an apology for showing what came through my water system . It was not my intention to give Howley a bad reputation but to bring attention to the people responsible to fix this situation. The faster we get it fixed the better it is going to be for the people in Howley and the people who may want to come . . I have been around the block a few times and have a general idea what i am talking about even though a few people might not think so.