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Howley planning town celebration to recognize effort to fix water problems

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The situation still isn’t fully rectified, but the Town of Howley is already planning an appreciation dinner for dealing with its recent water issues.

The town was under a state of emergency for 11 days since Jan. 29 after its water distribution system malfunctioned.

Water has been restored, but the town is still relying on one pump to keep a reliable flow of water to the taps of everyone in town.

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Howley’s state of emergency has been terminated

The water system’s second pump has been taken out of service and its repair could take more than two months. The town has two submersible pumps on standby, should they be needed.

Regardless, Mayor Wayne Bennett says an appreciation dinner is being planned, possibly for March 10, and the entire town is invited. Despite Bennett having expressed some disappointment with the provincial government during the crisis, he said invitations will also be extended to Premier Dwight Ball, who is the legislature member for Howley’s district of Humber-Gros Morne, and to Municipal Affairs and Environment Minister Eddie Joyce.

Earlier this week, the town was told part of its water problems had to do with an incorrectly installed check valve. Bennett said engineers told him they were surprised the check valve, installed around 1990, had lasted as long as it did.

He said that finding is evidence small towns like Howley often don’t have their own in-house expertise to supervise some technical projects.

“That’s part of the conversation we’ve been having at the Great Humber Joint Council about regionalization,” said Bennett. “We need to have those critical assets and shared services at the regional level so they can do the oversight.”

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