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Corner Brook Pulp and Paper says replacing leaky pipeline not a priority yet

Water spewing from all along the wooden-stave pipeline near the Corner Brook Stream is a common sight.
Water spewing from all along the wooden-stave pipeline near the Corner Brook Stream is a common sight. - Gary Kean

Corner Brook Pulp and Paper says it will eventually replace the leaky pipeline it maintains along the Corner Brook Stream, but not any time in the near future.

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The wooden-stave pipeline runs from Three-Mile Dam down towards the paper company’s hydroelectric power station located behind Margaret Bowater Park.

Anyone who walks the path that courses along the pipeline is familiar with dodging the water spraying out of the pipe along its length and avoiding the puddles of water those leaks create.

The wasted water actually flows down towards some of the Corner Brook Stream Trail network and can do damage to them on occasion.

Brent Humphries, the Corner Brook Stream Trail Development Corporation’s executive director, said he hasn’t been up to assess any damages done by the water this year, but acknowledged it’s been a recurring issue for years.

“There’s not much point in doing anything in terms of long-term repairs if the problem is going to keep happening anyway,” he said.

Darren Pelley, Corner Brook Pulp and Paper’s general manager, said the company recently assessed the pipeline and said the leaking pipeline seems to be no worse this year than it has been in other years. The company does keep an eye out for staves that have become particularly worrisome and repairs them to try and mitigate the water lost through the pipe.

In recent years, Corner Brook Pulp and Paper has been concentrating on replacing the penstocks located behind Deer Lake Power, which once were all wooden-stave pipelines just like the one in Corner Brook.

The wooden pipes at Deer Lake are now being replaced with fiberglass piping that should prevent such leaking.

Pelley said the work in Deer Lake is not yet completed, with the sixth of the nine penstocks being replaced this year and another of the remaining three on tap for replacement next summer.

“Down the road, (the Corner Brook pipeline) would be in the plans, but the Deer Lake ones are the priority now because of their age,” said Pelley.

He did say the paper company would like to hear from anyone who sees a leak in the pipeline that seems concerning enough to require immediate attention.

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