Nova Scotia

Man digging hole in Halifax Water dispute gets help

A group of volunteers say they'll spend their Saturday digging up a Halifax yard in an effort to solve a dispute between an 82-year-old man and Halifax Water.

Halifax Water says it won't cut off the 82-year-old's water on Friday

Fred Lordly was determined to dig until he reached the pipes. (CBC)

A group of volunteers say they’ll spend their Saturday digging up a Halifax yard in an effort to solve a dispute between an 82-year-old man and Halifax Water.

Fred Lordly has spent days digging a hole in his yard in an effort to find his water pipes.

His sewage runs into the Northwest Arm through a storm pipe, and Halifax Water says the problem must be corrected.

He’s now trying to find the connection to the wastewater system to see if it’s on his property.

Lordly said his phone was ringing off the hook with offers to help after his story was first broadcast.

"I've heard from so many people and so many people I don't know are coming to my aid," he said, overwhelmed with the attention.

Bunky Lawrence, a contractor, was working on the house next door to Lordly when he heard about the dispute.

He’s now arranged a group of volunteers to dig up the yard.

"I think it's a sin what the water commission is doing to this old man," said Lawrence. "I think there's no reason in this world why the water commission couldn't just come up and dig this up and find out what the problem is."

Lawrence and his team will use a back hoe and then shovels to do the job.

"They don't seem to be giving him any kind of - not a break - but not giving him a hand with it at all."

"He took me under his wing and he's going to fix everything up for me," said Lordly. "Halifax Water could've done the same thing."

Legal matter

A spokesperson for Halifax Water says the commission will not cut off Lordly’s water on Friday, the deadline for the homeowner to complete the work.

"Essentially this is a legal matter and we're not interested in talking publicly about what our legal options will be," said James Campbell.

Lordly argues his pipes were approved by the city when he built his home in 1968. Campbell said they have no documentation that proves that claim.

Also, he said Halifax Water took over the assets from the city in 2007.

"We'd have no involvement in that process that took place 44 years ago."

Campbell said Halifax Water must do what it can to protect the environment.

"We're sympathetic to Mr. Lordly's situation but the reality is we can't have businesses or private residents or any other customers discharging raw waste water into the local receiving water."

Lordly said he’s prepared to live in his car with his dog if his water is cut off.  For now, he said he’s grateful that he won’t have to spend the weekend digging.

There were seven homes in the area with the same problem. Halifax Water said Lordly is the only one who hasn’t complied with their order to fix it.