Murky no more: Work on new Pouch Cove water treatment plant to start soon

Murky no more: Work on new Pouch Cove water treatment plant to start soon

After years of dealing with cloudy tap water, residents of Pouch Cove on the Avalon peninsula are finally getting a new water treatment facility.

The federal and provincial governments are contributing a combined $3.8 million for the new facility, which will be housed in an already existing building in the community.

Construction is set to begin in the next several weeks.

It's welcome news for residents who have been complaining about dirty-looking water for years.

"I had only been there for six months when we realized the condition of the water," said Councillor Rob Tizzard.

"My wife encouraged me to do something about it."

Tizzard was elected to town council after campaigning on the issue of providing cleaner water, and said — while it's technically safe to drink —  the dirty, muddy colour still didn't sit well with most residents who still find it physically unappealing.

From pilot project to real facility

Despite not having any background in water treatment, Tizzard said he and others on council worked hard to understand what infrastructure was needed to properly treat and filter the town's water.

They looked at what other communities across Canada did to solve similar water woes, and launched a pilot project to see what was feasible.

Tizzard said the fact that Pouch Cove's water is technically already consumable – and just needs some sediment filtered out – means the whole process is cheaper and easier than first assumed.

"We had the piloting done and we were able to go up and experience, first hand, what the final product would look like for our community — and [it looks like] bottled water," Tizzard said.

"The other side of that is because the water is coming out cleaner, the treatment requirement is greatly reduced. If the water is not as dirty, you don't have to treat it as heavily in order to supply it to the community."

The government assistance will cover 90 per cent of water treatment project, with the town contributing the remaining 10 per cent.

The province is providing $2,426,988 to the project, while the federal government is contributing up to $1,427,413.

Work to begin soon

Tizzard said the funding is a real boon for the town, which can now finally tell residents that cleaner tap water is on the way — without having to get people on board to fund a major infrastructure project.

Work is expected begin this spring and, until then, the town will be busy ordering necessary equipment.

"We need a water storage tank, and that will take some time," Tizzard said.

"We are anticipating to talk with the government and see if we can get the filtration piece in, and depending on how long that time is for the water tank, either the water will be set up in advance of that and then the tank can come after — there are so many components."