Published on March 28, 2013
Theresa Byrne displays two bottles of water that came from Howley. On the left is water that came out of a tap in her home and on the right is filtered drinking water she obtains from the town.
Published on March 26, 2013
Howley Coun. Don McLean holds up a bottle of dirty water that came out of his furnace humidifier.
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.”