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Deer Lake, N.L., drinking water deemed safe after canal cleanup: report

Deer Lake, N.L.'s, drinking water has been declared safe, after dozens of decades-old metal barrels were pulled from the canal that supplies its water earlier this summer. The Humber Canal, which supplies drinking water to Deer Lake, N.L., is shown in a recent handout photo. The Canadian Press/HO-Richard Dewey

Months after dozens of old metal barrels were pulled from a canal in western Newfoundland, a report on the procedure has declared the nearby town’s drinking water safe.

The barrels were discovered in 2016 in the Humber Canal, which provides Deer Lake, N.L.’s water supply, by a concerned resident who filmed the sunken debris on a GoPro camera.

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Kruger Inc., which owns Deer Lake Power and nearby Corner Brook Pulp and Paper, removed the barrels in early June through contractor Stantec, which specializes in contaminated site cleanups.

Stantec’s report to Kruger, dated Aug. 12, says 74 deteriorated metal drums were pulled from the water along a 100-metre stretch near the southern shore of the canal.

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Sediment in the area was tested for metals, chemicals and other potentially harmful materials, with the report noting detection of organic petroleum hydrocarbons, likely from a fuel source.

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Despite unusual odor and taste officials say Vaudreuil water is safe to consume – Aug 20, 2019

The report says analysis of the area’s sediment and water samples shows the water respects Health Canada’s guidelines for drinking water quality, and pointed to the quality of the town’s filtration system.

It’s still uncertain what was contained in the drums, but the report says anecdotal evidence suggests empty drums were used “several decades ago” to support wooden booms that carried pulp wood along the canal.

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