Public Notice | Issues in Water System

Please be advised that the Town of Torbay has identified organisms in our water system. These organisms have been identified by the Department of Environment and Climate Change, through the Department of Biology at Memorial University, and our consultant Engineering Firm, WSP, as Phantom Midges or Chaoborus. They are free swimming organisms typically found in open water, and are likely being pulled into the intake pipe. They are considered a healthy part of an aquatic food web and are usually abundant this time of year, especially in a low-fish habitat. They prey heavily on mosquito larvae and are very tolerant to bad weather conditions and even chlorine. According to Memorial University’s Department of Biology they pose zero health impacts on people and are not of any danger to the Town’s water supply.

These organisms have appeared in a couple of isolated areas of the Town. The Town is in the process of reaching out to the Department of Environment and Climate Change and Digital Government and Service NL to discuss possible methods to address the presence of these organisms in our water supply.

In the meantime, please note that our chlorine levels are tested daily and are all within acceptable levels. In addition, our water supply is tested weekly for bacteria and all samples are free from any bacterial contamination. At this time, the Town of Torbay has not issued a boil water advisory given the lack of health impacts or bacterial contamination. However, we will consult with our Public Health agency and will determine if a boil water advisory may be needed on our entire water system.

The Town of Torbay conducted samples this morning in the areas of Tyndale Drive, Town Hall and Indian Meal Line and found no signs of Phantom Midges. The Town is also working towards a new water treatment facility, which we anticipate will be completed within 18 – 24 months once tendered. While the current water system has filtration, it does not have filtration in place which will remove these types of organisms. The new treatment facility will include this type of filtration. In the meantime, the Town will continue to work with the other government agencies and with our Engineering firm to address the current situation.

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