Lisa Dempster

Liberal MHA Lisa Dempster says the Newfoundland and Labrador government must step in to provide a special assistance grant to help fix the problem with Black Tickle's drinking water. (CBC)

The Liberal MHA for Cartwright L'Anse au Clair says the conditions surrounding Black Tickle drinking water are so dire, residents have resorted to collecting water from local ponds and drain-off ditches.

Lisa Dempster said the water treatment plant has not been working for the last two weeks, and people have been forced to drink water from a nearby bog. 

"Black Tickle is a local service district with access to very limited funding; in the last two weeks they have fallen into crisis with the inability to operate their water treatment plant," Dempster said in a statement. 

"Now the 150 residents no longer have access to safe, clean drinking water. Government must step in to provide a special assistance grant, or risk jeopardizing the health of residents."

Dempster said a special assistance grant from the provincial government last year gave Black Tickle the funding to operate the water treatment plant and cancel a boil water advisory, which had been in place for 12 years. The funding, $31,728, has run out. 

"The community is doing as best it can to contribute to the cost of operating the unit through water sales, and utilizing the time of volunteers to maintain and run the plant. However, they are not eligible for Municipal Operating Grants and have to rely on rental fees and donations as their main revenue source," Dempster said.