Halifax warns residents of 'unknown issue' with Grand Lake drinking water that sent one person to hospital
Grand Lake outside Halifax is off limits again Friday as the province continues to investigate the source of possible contamination that sent one woman to hospital and killed two dogs.
Officials from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans are looking at a possible connection to a number of dead fish found in the area.
“Fishery officers are aware of the dead fish in the area and they are looking into it as part of potentially the same incident,” says Mark Labelle, chief, policy and regulatory development for Fisheries and Oceans Maritimes Region.
The incident Labelle is talking about is the possible contamination of Grand Lake, N.S.
Two dogs died and one woman was sent to hospital after coming into contact with the water. Signs are now posted advising people to stay away from the lake.
On Thursday, DFO issued a prohibition order on fishing on Grand Lake and all of the Shubenacadie River.
Labelle adds “I want to emphasize that the prohibition order was put in there for the safety of the public and we’re working collaboratively with our federal, provincial and municipal counterparts to make sure everyone is aware of the potential risk in the area.”
There is also a risk to drinking water.
A number of residents have wells that draw from Grand Lake.
To help, the Municipality of East Hants is making water available for pick-up at the aquatic centre.
“Let’s hope it doesn’t go on for very much longer. I’m not prepared to go too much longer, but what can you do?” says Grand Lake resident Sherri Clow.
If the water ban is continued, East Hants Warden Eleanor Roulston says more resources, like opening the showers at the aquatic centre, could be made available to residents.
Officials from the Department of Environment and Climate Change continue to test samples taken from the lake.
Results have not yet been made public.
In a release Thursday evening, the province says it is testing water samples taken from Grand Lake and Fish Lake, near the Wellington and Enfield areas, for two types of toxins produced by blue-green algae.
The samples will be sent to a private lab to test for pesticides, organic and inorganic materials, as well as petroleum hydrocarbons.
In addition, a sample of sludge found in the lake is being sent to a specialist to identify.
The department says homeowners with wells that have a depth of 30 metres or less and are located within 60 metres of Grand Lake should not use their well water for drinking, bathing or cooking until further notice.
About 9,000 people in Halifax, Enfield, Elmsdale, Lantz and East Hants are supplied with water from the Grand Lake watershed through the East Hants Regional Water Utility.
Halifax Water issued a statement shortly after informing their tap water consumers that their water continues to be safe for normal use and consumption.
The utility does have plants in the area for their municipal water supply, but none are fed by Grand Lake.
According to James Campbell, communications manager at Halifax Water, there are three plants out there - Bomont, Bennery and Collins Park, which are all separate from Grand Lake. None of them receive their water supply from Grand Lake.
"The simple message is if you’re a Halifax Water customer, no matter where you live in our service area, your water is safe to drink,” says Campbell.
If you are not sure where your water comes from, you can check on the Halifax Water website.
Oakfield Provincial Park staff were putting up warning signs and roping off the beach area at Grand Lake this morning after one person and a couple of pets became ill after coming into contact with the water.