Under the Streets of St John’s
Archaeology and the Harbour Interceptor Sewer Project
The City of St. John’s, the City of Mount Pearl and the Town of Paradise have a combined population of 130,000 people and at one time municipal wastewater from these municipalities was discharged, untreated, into St. John’s Harbour. The purpose of the multi-phased St. John’s Harbour Clean-up project is to provide treatment of the wastewater before discharging to St. John's Harbour.
To improve this situation a plan was put in place for a new wastewater treatment facility and all new piping to direct the wastewater to the facility, which was opened on the south side of St. John’s Harbour in 2009.
A massive project like this required an Environmental Assessment. Part of that assessment was a Historic Resources (Archaeological) study. Given that the two kilometres of trunk sanitary sewer pipe was going to be installed under the historic downtown streets of the oldest city in North America.
Gerald Penney Associates Limited were hired to conduct the Historic Resources Assessment. Since 2004 they have had more than 10 archaeology permits and have registered more than 60 archaeology sites in the area of the sewer installation. In February, 2010, they gave a presentation at The Rooms on their involvement in the project. The presentation has an excellent assortment of artifact pictures, historic photos of downtown and historic maps of the Harbour area and it shows how they found many of the sites. For more information on this project, visit Inside Newfoundland and Labrador Archaeology's article on the project