Nfld. & Labrador

Hopedale's pumping plan to avoid winter water shortage

The Town of Hopedale is taking steps to make sure it has enough water to last through the winter, by pumping millions of litres into town reservoirs and replacing leaking lines.

State of emergency still in efffect

The Town of Hopedale is replacing leaking copper pipes and is pumping extra water into its backup reservoir to avoid a winter water shortage. (CBC)

The Town of Hopedale in northern Labrador is taking steps to make sure it has enough water to last through the winter.

It had come up with a plan that involves pumping millions of litres into the community reservoirs, as well as replacing leaking pipes.

The town has been under a state of emergency since March and AngajukKak, or mayor, Jimmy Tuttauk told CBC's Labrador Morning Monday he isn't ready to lift the state of emergency, despite some improvements.

Tuttauk said the main reservoir is full, but the supplementary supply is several feet below normal levels, and the town has to pump in 11-million litres of water from a third pond.

Jimmy Tuttauk is the angajukKâk, or mayor, of Hopedale. He's still asking people to conserve water. (Leah Balass/CBC)

"It's a big project. I'm disappointed it got started a bit late," he said.

"We had to wait for the federal government, Health Canada, to come back with some testing we done … to make sure it was at acceptable levels for us to use as drinking water."

The pumping will start at the end of October and continue for a month. With temperatures dropping, Tuttauk said the work is starting just in time.

"It will be going 24/7, day and night, because once you start pumping, you can't stop."

Fixing leaky lines

As for ongoing problems with leaky lines, Tuttauk said the town has replaced copper pipes in one area of town that had the biggest problem last year, using plastic pipe that should stand up better to the freeze and thaw conditions.

He said that has reduced the volume of water used from 300 gallons a minute to about 85 gallons.

​"We're optimistic this time that when we have the spring runoff from our hills that it won't bleed out through the community like it has been, fingers crossed."

While the town is still asking people to conserve water, Tuttauk said he hopes the worst is over.

"There was a plan to come in with buckets and bottled water. There's no need for that right now," he said.

Nadine Frieda and her young family struggled with a limited water supply last year. The town hopes to avoid a shortage this winter. (CBC)

As for what it will take to drop the state of emergency that's been in effect since last winter, Tuttauk said the answer is money.

"More money from both the province and Nunatsiavut government to help us continue on with leak detection, plus other equipment we require," he said.

"Next year, we have funding in for continued leak detection, in the village area, the older part of Hopedale, where we anticipate some problems with the older lateral lines."

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