2016 Environmental Award Goes to Town of Torbay, Stantec
The Professional Engineers and Geoscientists Newfoundland and Labrador (PEGNL) have presented Town of Torbay and Stantec Consulting with the 2016 Environmental Award. The award recognizes the application of science, technology, engineering and environmental management in Newfoundland and Labrador.
The Town of Torbay, in conjunction with Stantec, was recognized June 17th during PEGNL’s AGM and conference, for their forward-thinking approach to a groundwater flow modeling study, outstanding innovation and collaboration, and high commitment of responsibility to the residents. CAO Dawn Chaplain accepted the award on behalf of the Town.
Torbay has a unique geological area and adjacency to St. John’s, and is also a distinctive community in that less than 40% of its residents are serviced by municipal water infrastructure. The remaining residents rely on private wells for potable water. In early 2015, developing construction was halted due to studies that suggested the water supply would not have the capacity for more infrastructure, and further research was required in order to continue development.
The Town of Torbay engaged Stantec to research the groundwater levels for current and potential wells, a project which relied heavily on the use of geological surveying and analysis of the earth. Additional theorizing of multiple scenarios of residential and commercial development was also incorporated into the study to create a sustainable plan for the future.
Simultaneously, the Town participated in a regional water study through the City of St. John’s, which determined that it will be at least 15 years before Torbay can tap into St. John’s water services. This further reinforced the need for Stantec to conduct the geological surveying.
Over the course of four months, Stantec assessed the area of Torbay. The predictive simulations were positive and showed low impact in terms of reduced water availability in developing areas. Development has since resumed, and the Town of Torbay recently passed a motion which binds future developers to conduct the same surveying tests before plans are approved, a process which will give peace of mind not only to the current residents of Torbay but also to future residents who will also rely on well water.
This study was the first of its kind in Newfoundland and Labrador, and variation of the analysis can also be applied in other communities for adaptive groundwater resource management and land use planning.