May 23, 2019 6:33 pm
Updated: May 24, 2019 7:35 am

Halifax MP announces $15M project to clean up water in Harrietsfield

The federal government is pledging millions for the remediation of the Harrietsfield water project. Aya Al-Hakim has more.


For more than 30 years, residents of Harrietsfield, Nova Scotia have been struggling to get clean drinking water, but things are about to change this year.

Halifax MP Andy Fillmore announced a $15 million project on Thursday, aimed at cleaning up an area of a now-defunct recycling plant, which leached contaminants into the groundwater. The project is a joint federal-provincial initiative, with Ottawa committing over $6.7 million and the province contributing $8.3 million.

The contaminated water reached the wells of nearby homes on Old Sambro Road, causing health problems, like kidney and liver diseases.

READ MORE: N.S. environment minister commits $250K to assess Harrietsfield water concerns

The project was announced at the Harrietsfield Williamswood Community Center where approximately 30 people attended.

“I think it’ll be wonderful to have clean water, but I don’t know if it will be in my lifetime,” said Marlene Brown, a resident who helped initiate the change.

Marlene Brown, community resident

Aya Al-Hakim/Global News

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Brown and fellow community residents have been meeting with environment ministers for the past nine years, asking for the contaminated water and its area to be restored.

“The only reason I continued fighting is because all levels of government had very little compassion for the residents who were dealing with all this,” Brown said.

The project consists of the restoration and proper containment of 10 hectares of contaminated soil in a former landfill and debris disposal facility in the HRM to improve ground water for the community.

READ MORE: Nova Scotians urged to test well water after Heath Canada sets new guideline for manganese

It also aims to remove and recycle trash buried outside the landfill area.

“We are here to clean the mess,” said Fillmore, “and anything that is leaching into groundwater, that will be stopped entirely.”

Brown said that she and eight others got water systems form the government, but arsenic is still coming through her water system.

“I’d love to go to my sink and pour a glass of water,” said Brown.

Fillmore says the clean up will start as soon as possible this year.

WATCH: (June 2018) N.S. government commits $250K to Harrietsfield water assessment

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