Black Tickle water plant: Not a crisis
Town producing potable water by gravity while awaiting new part
Black Tickle is currently awaiting a part for its water plant, but in the meantime, there is no water shortage, according to the chair of the local service committee, Joseph Keefe.
In perhaps no other place in Labrador are the pressures of being a remote community more acutely felt than in Black Tickle.
With a population that has dwindled since the demise of the cod fishery into the 130 range — officially 150 according to the 2016 census, but most estimates have it lower — the community has seen more than its fair share of crises in recent years.
In 2012, the fish plant closed, taking with it 70-odd seasonal jobs.
In 2015, the water was so bad it destroyed the water plant’s filter supply and the Red Cross ended up flying in bottled water.
In 2016, the town lost its full-time nursing position and Woodward’s closed its retail gas station and announced it would no longer be delivering fuel to the town.
In light of those existential threats, when the booster pump at the community’s water plant failed around three weeks ago, the town took it in stride.
“We ran right out first,” Keefe said. “But we changed all the filters and just by changing all the filters it means you could make so much water just by the pressure from the pump house.”
A new booster pump has been ordered, but Keefe did not know when it would be delivered because the town’s supplier in St. John’s did not have it in stock and had to order it from the manufacturer. In the meantime there is no crisis, he said.
“Anybody that wants water is getting water,” Keefe said. “We’ve pretty much got enough that we can supply; we’ve got a small amount of customers anyway.”
The plant is open for a few hours every day for people to pick up drinking water at a cost of $2 per three gallons. There is also a hose outside the plant where people can collect water for washing.
In many ways, living in Black Tickle is like going back in time. There is no cell phone service, no high-speed internet, no road access and residents have never had running water to their homes.
“A few people have artesian wells, but other than that if you want water you have to go haul it first to put it in your barrel and pump it that way,” Keefe said.
It’s part of the appeal of staying there, he added.