The island community of Ramea, which lies off Newfoundland's southwest coast, is still dealing with a lack of fresh running water after more than two weeks.

It started Dec. 16, when a storm surge dumped salt water in pond that supplies the town's water system, making the water too salty for human consumption. 

The town of about 400 residents declared a state of emergency late last week, though people there can still get access to fresh water from the local water treatment plant, which has a reverse osmosis unit that is still working.

Working on long-term solution

Mayor Clyde Dominie told CBC on Monday that the town is still unsure if the water is safe to drink, but that an engineer was set to arrive in that afternoon to start inspecting the system.

He said besides looking at the immediate condition of the town's water supply, the engineer would also be looking at how the town can come up with a long-term solution to avoid similar problems in the future.

Reverse osmosis unit

Ramea residents can still go to the water treatment plant to get fresh water through the use of a reverse osmosis unit, similar to the one seen here. (Government of Nunavut)

Dominie said one solution the town is looking at is to build a breakwater to prevent a storm from dumping salt water in the pond again.

He told CBC by phone that when the storm surge hit two weeks ago, it came as an 11-foot "tidal wave" hitting the Ramea beach during high tide. Within a short time the salt content was at such a high level that it was no longer safe for consumption.

Besides using the reverse osmosis unit to get water, Dominie said residents are also buying drinking water.

The town expects to have more information on the state of their water system by Tuesday.