Nova Scotia

Middle Musquodoboit man blames quarry for murky, smelly well water

A man in Middle Musquodoboit, N.S. blames a quarry that operated for a few weeks this fall for turning his tap water into a smelly, murky mess.

Randy Rossiter says well water was fine for the first 13 months he lived in his home

Randy Rossiter only moved to his home a couple of years ago and had his well water tested when he and his wife bought the property. (CBC)

A man in Middle Musquodoboit blames a quarry that operated for a few weeks this fall for turning his tap water into a smelly, murky mess.

Randy Rossiter only moved to his home a couple of years ago. He had his well water tested when he and his wife bought the property. The test showed everything was fine and it stayed that way for the first 13 months he lived there.

Rossiter said a test quarry for kaolin clay started up in August last year.

"Shortly after that, the trucks driving through and everything like that, I noticed my water was starting to take a tinge in colour to it," he said.

The water doesn't just have a tinge. It smells bad and is murky.

It leaves sediment in the bottom of every glass or bowl he uses. It has stained his toilets and he worries what the gritty residue is doing to his pipes. For that reason, he won't run his dishwasher or washing machine. Laundry is now done outside the home.

The water has stained his toilets and Rossiter worries what the gritty residue is doing to his pipes. (CBC)

Rossiter says with a well that's drilled to a depth of over 42 metres, he shouldn't be having these problems. He called in water quality experts who installed extra filtration at a cost of thousands of dollars. He's seen no improvement.

Site too small to be covered by regulations

Rossiter complained about the quarry to the provincial Environment Department.

"They've gone out to the site and told me that it shouldn't affect us," Rossiter said. "It falls within the parameters of an open pit mine. It's under two hectares so, no big deal."

But Rossiter said the department never sent anyone to his house to see his water problem first-hand.

"I think the Department of Environment is more responsible for not doing anything with the quarry to ensure this is being taken care of properly," Rossiter said.

A spokesperson for the Environment Department said someone visited the site last month and determined it wasn't a quarry, but exploratory activity. At .068 hectares, the department said the site is too small to be covered by environmental regulations.

The company did have a permit from the Department of Natural Resources.

The spokesperson said no one else in the area has complained about tainted well water.

"We have recommended that the property owner contact a certified well driller and water treatment specialist to assess the construction of his wells and to review water treatment options," the department said in its statement.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Blair Rhodes

Reporter

Blair Rhodes has been a journalist for more than 35 years, the last 27 with CBC. His primary focus is on stories of crime and public safety. He can be reached at blair.rhodes@cbc.ca

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