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E. coli contamination in Lower Sackville’s First Lake will take years to fix

By Joe Thomson Jul 10, 2023 | 12:04 PM


It will take years to fix the E. coli contamination problem in Lower Sackville’s First Lake, says district councilor Paul Russell.

Last week it was revealed that the Halifax Regional Municipality, in cooperation with Halifax water and the Friends of First Lake Water Stewardship Committee. Discovered the source of the contamination was primarily human waste.

Now, staff are undergoing the long and tedious process of identifying where the waste could Ave entered the lake and working to fix those leaks.

“One of the guys from Halifax Water looked at a place and said, ‘that looks interesting and not in a good way,’ so they did some investigation, and it was difficult to track that one source. So, that one source took six months to resolve,” said Russell.

With many possible sources, it won’t be a quick fix.

“Years… it’ll be a lengthy process,” said Russell.

Halifax Water spokesperson, Jake Fulton, detailed some of the difficulties that come with tying to decontaminate the Lake. He said Halifax water has already been doing work in the area for roughly three years to help the HRM find the source of the contamination and that they’ve already repaired a few sources that may have been contributing.

“It’s a bit of a needle in a haystack. We’re continuing our investigations, there are a number of potential points that are also outside of our control that could be contributing. There are properties that are not connected to our system along the lake, and we do have a pump station in the area,” said Fulton.

He doesn’t suspect the pump station is contributing to the contamination, but it is scheduled to be drained and inspected this summer anyway.

As for the community of Lower Sackville, Russell said the city will hold a public information session to help residents stay up to date on everything going on in First Lake. Residents will be able to provide feedback on an individual basis.

“The ultimate goal is to make sure that you can go and enjoy the beach that we’ve got on this absolute gem of a lake. It’s just going to take some time to get there,” said Russell.


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