Town officials refute NTV concerns.
BURGEO, NL – The Town of Burgeo has plenty of water to fight a fire, according to the town’s manager and fire chief.
An NTV news report aired Aug. 17 stated consumption of up to a million gallons of water a day by residents during the winter emptied the town’s water tank twice daily, thus “creating a demand on the treatment plant and putting availability of water at risk for firefighting.”
While excessive usage does drain the tank, and can create a demand for safely treated drinking water, town officials say it has no bearing on the town’s ability to fight fires.
Town Manager Blaine Marks released a rebuttal to NTV’s report on Burgeo Broadcasting to clarify the issue, stating in the event of a fire, if more water is needed than currently in the tank, the system is put on bypass and pulled directly from the pond without going through the water treatment plant.
And there is no shortage of water in Long Pond, he said.
“At a flow rate of 400 gallons per minute and with no water entering the reservoir (rain, snow), it would take 273 days (nine months) to use all the water,” wrote Marks. “Our fire truck pumps 840 gpm (gallons per minute) so it would have to pump for 130 days (four months) to use all the water.”
Fire Chief Glen Hann also disagreed with NTV’s report, and said even in the highly unlikely event that volumes in the town’s reservoir and other nearby ponds aren’t sufficient, it’s hardly the last option to fight a large-scale fire.
“If all else fails, Burgeo is an island. We can go with salt water,” said Hann via phone interview. “There’s always an abundance of water here, even in the driest of summers.”
Hann confirmed it would take, at most, half an hour to switch the system to bypass the water treatment plant in case of emergency.
Mayor Barbara Barter says NTV did not reach out about the town’s ability to fight fires before running the report.
“No media asked me or staff about fire fighting specifically. And the fire department understands clearly that in times of emergency, the town is equipped to go on by-pass. The town manager is quite accurate in his response – we have lots of water and, not treated, it can be run on bypass infinitum.”
Barter is more concerned with council’s water plan, which has dropped the contentious water meter pilot project.
“What we are losing sight of here is that council’s focus is on overcoming our challenges to providing residents with clean, safe drinking water. Processing that water and managing it for household consumption is the challenge.”
The Town of Burgeo has no water issues when it comes to fighting fires, thanks to a bypass system that allows it to bypass the water treatment plant.