Wabush's wastewater treatment plant is an embarrassment, says the town's mayor, and the town is hoping for federal funding to fix it.
The Labrador town wasn't on the list of projects slated to get a share of $150 million for wastewater projects, but Mayor Colin Vardy is hoping to rectify that.
"The wastewater in Wabush is certainly a black eye," Vardy told CBC. "When I became elected, I said this is a black eye we're going to wear, because we have to talk about it. The only way we're going to get the funding and partners on board is if we talk about it and the residents understand where we're to."
This year, Vardy said there's been about $800,000 in upgrades done to the residential treatment plant, but the sewage still empties in a nearby lake. The mayor estimates the town needs between $14 million and $15 million for upgrades in the industrial park, the residential plant and some freshwater upgrades.
Estimated $15 million to fix
"My understanding it would be split 50-50 — the feds would provide 50 per cent, the province would provide the other 50 per cent, but we would have to pay 10 per cent of the 50.
"So we're on the hook for about $700,000 or $800,000, which in our situation is an extreme amount of money because we have a shrinking budget, but it's something we have to do, and if that means we have to borrow, well, we'll do that."
One of the options may be sharing a facility with nearby Labrador City, which was recently approved for $7 million in wastewater infrastructure funding.