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Province, towns awaiting Humber Canal cleanup plan from Deer Lake Power

Pieces of steel believed to be part of heavy equipment stick up through the water in the Deer Lake canal in this still image taken from a YouTube video.
Pieces of steel believed to be part of heavy equipment stick up through the water in the Deer Lake canal in this still image taken from a YouTube video. - YouTube screen grab

The two towns that use its water for drinking have been assured it’s still safe to continue to do so, but a plan is being worked on to remove decades-old debris from the Humber Canal.

In April 2017, the Department of Municipal Affairs and Environment received complaints from a resident of visually observing debris at the bottom of the canal.

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In response, the department conducted specialized chemical water testing in addition to its regular bacteriological testing.

The department also required that Deer Lake Power investigate the complaints. The utility subsequently detected equipment and containers from forestry operations which have likely remained undisturbed in the canal since the 1950s.

Deer Lake Power has applied for a permit for the remediation of the debris and the department has requested additional information regarding the proposed plan.

In a news release issued Monday, the department said it is working with the Town of Deer Lake and the Town of Reidville regarding the plans for the safe removal of debris in the Humber Canal.

The department said there is no immediate risk to the drinking water, but removal of the debris must be done in a way that considers all potential impacts to the highest safety standards. Remediation work will not be permitted to commence until all necessary permits are in place and an appropriate remediation plan is approved by the Department of Municipal Affairs and Environment.

Residents are advised that drinking water continues to meet the guidelines for Canadian drinking water quality and remains safe for use.

The Humber Canal is a protected public water supply area and, as such, testing for bacteriological and chemical components continues to be regularly conducted to ensure safety standards are maintained. In addition, further specialized chemical testing has been conducted, based on the current permit application, and results indicated that there were no issues with the drinking water.

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