Nova Scotia

Rec centre water plan awaits province's approval

The Halifax Regional Municipality says its new plan to supply drinking water to a local recreation centre is ready for provincial government approval, more than two years after the centre opened.

The Halifax Regional Municipality says its new plan to supply drinking water to a local recreation centre is ready for provincial government approval, more than two years after the centre opened.

The $9-million recreation centre in Fall River, N.S., has not had drinkable water since it opened in February 2009. The centre, like much of the surrounding residential area, doesn't have access to city water so people have had to rely on trucked-in or bottled water.

Now, the city says it has installed a new rainwater system to supply drinking water and is waiting to activate it until it has approval.

"I'm bubbling with optimism," said Barry Dalrymple, the councillor for the area.

"This will give us the ability to turn the showers on, it'll give us the ability to turn the drinking water on, and the centre will — yes, after two and a half years — have operating water. That's a wonderful thing."

When the centre originally opened, officials discovered the underground well system produced only a little water and that it contained too much iron and manganese.

With the new system, rainwater collected in a cistern will be treated and used as drinking water. In times of dry weather, tanks holding water will be brought in. The system combines ultraviolet treatment with a carbon filter treatment.

Dalrymple said the city is about to hire a company to carry out routine monitoring of the replacement water treatment system after Nova Scotia's Department of Environment ordered corrective action in the fall. That order came after a single test found unacceptable levels of bacteria in the recreation centre's water.

"In this case it was total coliform and fecal coliform," said Steven Westhaver, the district manager of environmental monitoring and compliance for the Department of Environment.

Westhaver said testing since then has shown the water is now free of bacteria. He said it will respond shortly to the plan put forward by the Halifax Regional Municipality.

"That action plan is currently in our possession and we're reviewing it now for completeness and to make sure it meets our requirements under our regulations and guidelines," he said.

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