The town of St. Anthony is hoping it now has a cost-effective strategy to deal with trihalomethanes (THMs) in its water supply.
In late 2018, St. Anthony was one of many Newfoundland and Labrador towns found to have levels of THM in its water exceeding Health Canada’s standards.
Since then, the town has been looking at various ways of removing THMs from its water supply.
Now it may have found one.
During the town council meeting on Jan 21, it was brought up that under-sink filters are available to remove THMs through local hardware stores.
The council, therefore, discussed approaching the Department of Municipal Affairs for a pilot project where they pay for the installation of the filters throughout properties in St. Anthony. A motion was passed to approach the department for the pilot project.
The town had previously looked at installing a treatment facility but determined that option was not affordable.
“We could solve the problem for much much less,” town manager Curtis Richards told council during the meeting.
The installation of each filter, called a chemical and chlorine reduction filter cartridge, would cost $100-$250, totaling approximately $100,000-$250,000 across all properties.
The project would fall under municipal capital works water projects; the department would share 90 per cent of the cost while the town would share the remaining 10 per cent.
Under the proposed arrangement, a homeowner would be required to provide documentation of the purchase, its costs and pictures of the filter installed in the home.
The town and province would then reimburse the homeowner.
The filter will expire after four-to-six months. At that point, homeowners will be responsible to replace them on their own dime.
Disinfection byproducts, such as trihalomethanes (THMs) and haloacetic acids (HAAs), are created from the interaction of chlorine with organic material suspended in the water. Long-term exposure to excessive levels of THMs and HAAs are suspected to possibly cause cancer and reproduction issues.
Health Canada guidelines set the minimum acceptable level for THMs at 100 micrograms per litre (ug/l) and for HAAs at 80 ug/l. A provincial government report for winter 2018 showed running averages for 20 Northern Peninsula and southern Labrador communities ranged from just barely over the guideline (Anchor Point, 106.25 THMs and 82.2 HAAs) to more than five times (Port Hope Simpson, 380 THMs and 530.33 HAAs).
St. Anthony’s THM levels sit at 165 ug/l and its HAA levels at 161.43 ug/l.
THM and HAA levels in community water supplies for 20 Northern Peninsula and southern Labrador communities, running averages, Winter 2018
Community THMs HAAs
St. Anthony 165 161.43
Anchor Point 106.25 82.2
Bellburns 129 82.75
Conche 163 136.95
Cook's Harbour 167.50 133.77
Flower's Cove 160.25 126.90
Goose Cove 146 60
Gunners Cove 237.5 184
Hawke's Bay 205 132
Main Brook 167.50 182.88
Mary's Harbour 239 203.27
Nameless Cove 170 128.30
Plum Point 264.67 108
Port Hope Simpson 380 530.33
Port Saunders 167.50 34.03
Port au Choix 124.75 87.80
Roddickton-Bide Arm 127.25 108.03
St. Lewis 290 196.18
St. Lunaire-Griquet 275 247.07
West St. Modeste 260 280.70