Bur­geo fire­fight­ing

Town of­fi­cials re­fute NTV con­cerns.

The Gulf News (Port aux Basques) - - FRONT PAGE - BY ROSALYN ROY [email protected] Twit­ter: @tyger­lylly

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.”

NORM STRICK­LAND/SPE­CIAL TO THE GULF NEWS

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.

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