A 10-year-old girl has made a disturbing discovery in a Halifax-area lake.

Katie Buckley loves to paddle and swim at First Lake in Lower Sackville. But she was surprised to find a chlorine tablet in the swimming area at the lake’s Sackawa Canoe Club.

“I was diving down and I found a little bright white thing and it was really bright so I picked it up,” says Buckley.

Curious about the mysterious find, she brought it to her mother.

“Katie ran up to me with what I thought was a rock at first,” says Vicki MacKenzie. “It was three or four inches across. She came and she said ‘this rock really smells like chlorine mom.’”

The mysterious white rock turned out to be a chlorine tablet, which is used to control bacteria in swimming pools.

The discovery is raising some questions about its impact on water quality tests and the environment, but an environmental performance officer with the city says he’s not too concerned about the presence of one tablet.

“I would be very confident in saying that there would be a very limited impact on the water quality in the area where that puck was found,” says Cameron DeCoff.

Lifeguards at another section of the lake have been warning visitors not to enter the water after tests revealed high levels of bacteria. But high levels of bacteria in one area of the lake doesn’t mean the entire body of water is contaminated.

“It’s certainly possible for there to be very different water quality in different parts of the lake, so while HRM’s beach is closed, if the canoe club were to test their water, they may find that it would be perfectly safe for swimming,” says DeCoff.

Officials at the Sackawa Canoe Club say tests show the water in their section of the lake is safe. They believe the deeper water in their swimming area creates more circulation, reducing the levels of bacteria.

City officials are taking the opportunity to discourage citizens from putting anything in a lake that doesn’t belong there, which includes chlorine tablets.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Ron Shaw