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Residents raising awareness of well-water issues in Halifax communities

by Erica Butler

Meeting organizers Melissa King and Marlene Brown are encouraging Harrietsfield and Williamswood residents to test their well water.
Meeting organizers Melissa King and Marlene Brown are encouraging Harrietsfield and Williamswood residents to test their well water.
Harrietsfield, Nova Scotia - About 40 residents from the communities of Williamswood and Harrietsfield attended a meeting Monday to discuss the state of water in their area. 
As previously reported by the Halifax Media Coop, many wells in the Harrietsfield area have been under a mandatory testing order from the Nova Scotia Department of Environment because of links to a now-defunct construction and demolition waste recycling and disposal site in their midst. The fate of the RDM Recycling site on Old Sambro Road is now in the courts, as the owners (part of the Municipal Group, which includes Dexter Construction and Otter Lake landfill operators Mirror Nova Scotia) have appealed a Ministerial Order requiring an estimated $10 million cleanup of the area. The case will go to court in October.
Problems with well water in the area may also extend beyond the contamination zone from the RDM Recycling site, and so meeting organizers Melissa King and Marlene Brown decided to raise awareness about water quality in their area. King and Brown are encouraging people to have their water tested for metals like uranium and arsenic, both of which are naturally present throughout Nova Scotia’s bedrock.
Melissa King says another purpose of the meeting was to talk about options for accessing clean water. King, who doesn’t bathe herself or her son in her well water due to high concentrations of manganese, doesn’t have high hopes for a hook-up to city water in the near future. Halifax Water currently has pipes extended out to Leiblin Park, about 3 kilometres away. But, says King, “at the end of the day, we need clean water.”
“We’re hoping people will start talking,” says Marlene Brown. who is also coordinating a volunteer effort through Chebucto Connections that will bring clean water to community residents who may have trouble accessing it. Brown has already been filling up jugs for neighbours at a Spryfield church that has volunteered its taps to those in need.
More reading on Harriestfield water:
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