Nova Scotia

Dalhousie's Marion McCain building closed after chemicals enter water supply

Dalhousie University has closed the Marion McCain Arts and Social Sciences building until further notice after two chemicals were mixed into the building's water supply around 8 a.m. Thursday morning.  

University issued evacuation order shortly before 9:30 a.m. Thursday

Dalhousie University issued an evacuation order for the Marion McCain Arts and Social Sciences building shortly before 9:30 a.m. Thursday morning. (Eric Woolliscroft/CBC)

Dalhousie University has closed the Marion McCain Arts and Social Sciences building until further notice after two chemicals were mixed into the building's water supply around 8 a.m. Thursday, according to the university.

A problem with the building's heating system occurred around that time and led to the chemicals getting into the water system, according to an advisory sent to students and staff. 

Dalhousie has not said what kinds of chemicals got into the water.

But it is encouraging individuals who may have consumed the building's drinking water between 8 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. Thursday to contact the Health Services Clinic at 902-494-2171.

The university said the toxicity of the two chemicals is low and presents a low risk to people who may have come into contact with the water while washing their hands or using the washroom. 

The water would most likely have had a bad smell or taste. Anyone who put the water into a bottle is advised to pour it out and wash the bottle several times with warm water and soap. If the bottle continues to have an odour it should be discarded.

Evacuation order

The university's security office issued an evacuation order to faculty and students in the McCain building shortly before 9:30 a.m.

At the time the university did not say why the building was being evacuated. 

The water supply in the building will now be flushed and tested to make sure it's safe, said the advisory. 

Classes that were supposed to go ahead in the building are being rescheduled. Students should expect updates from their instructors on the status of their classes. 

Individuals who left items inside the building will be allowed in to get them under the supervision of Dal Security staff. The McCain parkade is also still in use. 

More information on the building's status is expected to be shared on Monday.