Boil-water advisory in Halifax area lifted

The Douglas Kline Water Supply Plant is the largest water supply plant in Atlantic Canada. (Paul Palmeter/CBC - image credit)
The Douglas Kline Water Supply Plant is the largest water supply plant in Atlantic Canada. (Paul Palmeter/CBC - image credit)

A boil-water advisory that impacted a large swath of the Halifax Regional Municipality for roughly 40 hours has been lifted.

Halifax Water said water would be safe for consumption and use after impacted customers completed the following steps:

  • Fridges or other appliances that store water should be flushed for 10 minutes.

  • Dispose of ice made by an ice maker or in an ice cube tray during the boil-water advisory.

The advisory was issued Monday at 6 p.m. and followed an internal electrical issue at a water treatment facility that serves 201,000 people in the municipality. The issue caused some unchlorinated water to enter the system.

It affected Halifax, Bedford, Spryfield, Timberlea, Hammonds Plains, Beaver Bank, Middle and Lower Sackville, Windsor Junction, Herring Cove and parts of Fall River.

A boil water advisory went into effect throughout parts of the Halifax Regional Municipality following what Halifax Water said was a result of an electrical issue at the JD Kline (Pockwock) Lake Water Treatment Facility that allowed a limited amount of unchlorinated water to enter the system.
A boil water advisory went into effect throughout parts of the Halifax Regional Municipality following what Halifax Water said was a result of an electrical issue at the JD Kline (Pockwock) Lake Water Treatment Facility that allowed a limited amount of unchlorinated water to enter the system.

A boil water advisory went into effect throughout parts of the Halifax Regional Municipality following what Halifax Water said was a result of an electrical issue at the JD Kline (Pockwock) Lake Water Treatment Facility that allowed a limited amount of unchlorinated water to enter the system. (Darren Calabrese/The Canadian Press)

Halifax Water said it has been continuously monitoring the system and has completed the sampling required by the provincial Environment Department and the medical officer of health in order to lift the advisory.

"Test results now confirm that all drinking water samples have met the requirements established by [the Environment Department]," the utility said in a news release mid-morning Wednesday.

"Halifax Water wants to thank all of its customers for their cooperation and patience over the past two days and apologize for any inconvenience."

The advisory caused widespread disruptions throughout the municipality on Monday evening and Tuesday, prompting some businesses and daycares to close and causing hoards of people to flock to grocery stores for bottled water.

Nova Scotia regional medical officer of health Dr. Monika Dutt told The Canadian Press on Tuesday that neither the provincial Environment Department nor the city's utility found traces of viruses or bacteria in the water.

Customers of the Sobeys on Mumford Road in Halifax were greeted by a sign telling them the store was sold out of water on Tuesday morning.
Customers of the Sobeys on Mumford Road in Halifax were greeted by a sign telling them the store was sold out of water on Tuesday morning.

Customers of the Sobeys on Mumford Road in Halifax were greeted by a sign telling them the store was sold out of water on Tuesday morning. (Brooklyn Currie/CBC)

Jeff Myrick, communications manager for Halifax Water, said an internal electrical issue at the JD Kline (Pockwock Lake) water treatment facility allowed some unchlorinated water to enter the system for about 30 minutes on Monday.

Crews initially tried to flush it out of the system, but when that wasn't successful, they notified the public, he said Tuesday.

Myrick said that water had been screened and had gone through other cleaning processes, but it wasn't chlorinated. Chlorination kills off leftover bacteria and bugs, he said.

"So normally if we have an issue with the pump or with power surge inside the facility, the circuits will trip and then a backup generator will kick in and provide the electricity needed to run the facility," Myrick told CBC Radio's Information Morning Nova Scotia on Tuesday.

"Unfortunately [Monday], whatever happened, we did not have a backup generator that went into place and which caused the situation."

Investigation ongoing

Myrick said the utility is investigating what went wrong. He said the backup system is checked regularly and tested at least once a month.

"That means making sure the generator is working, but also all the switches that help trigger the generator are also working, so we're a bit baffled right now by what happened, but we're looking into it," he said.

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