Harrietsfield residents urge action on contaminated water

A group of residents in Harrietsfield are grappling with well water provincial officials say was contaminated by a local recycling plant, and are urging the Nova Scotia government to enforce a three-year-old clean up order.

Locals want environment minister to enforce clean up order of recycling facility

A group of residents in Harrietsfield are grappling with well water that provincial officials say was contaminated by a local recycling plant, and are urging the Nova Scotia government to enforce a three-year-old clean up order.

The group says too little is being done to fix the problem, which has left several homes with unsafe drinking water.

Melissa King said her well has so much heavy metal the water can't even be used for bathing or watering plants.

"This has just been a long, ongoing, very tiring, and frustrating battle," she said.

The province's department of environment has told King not to drink her well water. Officials blame the problem on RDM Recycling Ltd., a construction and recycling business across the road.

Residents lobbied hard against the operation when it opened for business years ago, with 1,200 people signing a petition against it.

The facility was shut down in January when the Halifax Regional Municipality refused to license it, accusing the company of violating environmental laws.

RDM, a numbered company, and three people associated with the operation were ordered 2010 by the department of environment to devise a plan to clean up the contaminated wells and the site. One of the parties is appealing the order in court.

One local resident said much more needs to be done and argues the community is being neglected.

"The bottom line for me is the people in this community need safe drinking water and they need to be educated," Marlene Brown said.

"They can’t just be passed water samples: ‘This is what’s in your water.’ Unless people go and do research, and a lot of research, they have no idea what’s in the water."

Residents want Randy Delorey, the new environment minister, to enforce the ministerial order to clean up the recycling site and make the water safe.

Calls to the company's agent were not returned.