Back-to-back boil orders in Carbonear due to unrelated problems

By Mark Squibb/January 13, 2023

Carbonear Mayor Frank Butt says two separate orders within days of one another were due to unrelated problems with the town’s water filtration system.

The first boil order was called December 29 due to problems with the chlorination system.

Butt said slush clogged the line, and the Town had to run tests to ensure the water was being properly chlorinated, and the system cleared of slush.

That boil order was lifted December 31, just in time for folks to celebrate the new year.

Unfortunately, the Town had to impose a second boil order just a few days later on Thursday, January 5. That one was not lifted until January 11, and was due to a malfunction with the pumping system.

“We have two chlorination pumps, the primary and the secondary,” explained Butt. “And what happened was that the primary one malfunctioned, and so the second one kicked in, but out of pure, bad luck, the second one had problems as well. So, then we had the two pumps down, and we had to issue the boil order for the second time.”

Butt said the boil orders were so close together some folks didn’t even know the first one had been lifted. He feels sympathetic for businesses that had to close for days due to the boil order.

And though the boil order has been lifted, in some ways the work has just begun.

“We’re looking at the whole system itself, because we certainly don’t want this to happen again,” said the mayor. “We have it all up and running, and the boil order has been lifted and we’ve passed the chlorination test. So, what’s going to happen now is that we’re going to go in and look at the two pumps that are in there, and if they are of an age to be replaced, we’ll replace them with brand new ones.”

Asked if a third boil order is possible in the coming days, Butt said that the system is fine right now, but, like any system, a break could happen any time.

“Will it happen again? I have no idea,” said Butt. “But, when I look back through my notes, I note that we had a boil order in 2018 on the exact same day. And that was four years ago. So, you can’t’ predict boil orders, but we’ll certainly be prepared to address it.”

Once a boil order is put into effect, the Town is tasked with informing residents.

 “You’ll never be able to reach everybody individually,” said Butt. “But the vast majority is done by social media. We do reach out to the local radio station. And we do do the old fashion phone call to those that would be gravely impacted, like the Carbonear General Hospital, long term care homes, and restaurants.”

Butt encouraged residents to sign up for Cabonear Connect, an e-mail server that keeps residents up-to-date on things going on in the town.

“Signing up for Carbonear Connect would be one of the fastest ways to find out what’s going on in Carbonear,” said Butt. “I’m signed up, and I find it really good. There’s always stuff being put out there and it’s not just negative stuff, there are positive things as well.”

He also encouraged folks to check in on friends and families when a boil order is enacted just in case they haven’t heard word otherwise.

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