Homeowners in the Fall River area who get their drinking water from Lake Fletcher are being told to take precautions.

According to Nova Scotia's Department of Environment there was a domestic oil spill overnight Thursday into Friday morning. Some of that oil went into Lake Fletcher.

A department official could not say how much fuel leaked or how many people could be affected by the spill.  

However, people are being warned to watch out for an oily sheen or a strong odour. If any fuel does show up, boiling will not make the water safe to drink.

Department spokesperson Krista Higdon said cleanup and containment have begun, but it's unclear how long the process could take.

Fire department received call

Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency first got the call of the leaking oil tank around 10:25 p.m. on Thursday night, said division commander Brad Connors. 

The oil was coming from a house in a subdivision off Highway 2, between Fletchers Lake and Lake Thomas. By the time crews arrived on site, the house's oil tank was empty. 

"Our responsibility is to contain and stop any leak of that kind. The leak in a sense had been stopped because all the fuel had run out of the tank," he said.

"Then we tried to minimize any spread of the fuel, we put some dyking material, and some absorbent pads, and some Absorb All, which is sort of a kitty litter-like product, just to try to minimize any further damage to the environment." 

Connors said it was unclear how much fuel was in the standard-size house tank. 

Some water customers safe from contamination

Meanwhile, 80 customers who get their water supply from the Collins Park facility operated by Halifax Water don't have to worry about contamination.

"As soon as we became aware of the fuel leak, we shut down the intake," said James Campbell, a spokesperson for the water utility.

"We have a large holding tank on hand, so we're drawing down on that."

According to Campbell, bulk water can be trucked to the facility if its needed. All Halifax Water customers have been informed about the situation through hand-delivered notifications.  

With files from Shaina Luck