St. John's Mayor Danny Breen says the city is facing a wastewater problem that will cost tens of millions of dollars to fix — and he wants more time from the federal government to do it. Changes to federal government regulations in 2014 required cities to test the levels of suspended solids and chemical biological oxygen demand — essentially, the amount of oxygen needed for organic material to be broken down in water. The levels found in St. John's mean the city has to build a secondary treatment facility by the end of 2020, which Breen said will cost the city about $85 million to build.
Thousands of city residents who get their drinking water from that source were warned not to drink their tap water in late August, after reports the water was discoloured by manganese. "The number of discoloured water reports to the city from residents serviced by the Perry Harbour Long Pond water supply have significantly decreased," the statement said.
Mayor Danny Breen says "nothing could be further from the truth" in response to allegations the City of St. John's knew about water issues and didn't advise the public until recently. "The integrity of our water supply is one of our most important commitments — and we would never take any unnecessary risks with our water," Breen said in a statement to St. John's City Council Tuesday evening.