Asvisory of the Day
HILLSBOROUGH, NS: HILLSBOROUGH WATER SUPPLY'S HISTORY OF ISSUES, NS
The community of Bear River's Hillsborough Water Supply was removed from a Boil Water Advisory on March 3, by Nova Scotia Environment. The government authority issued the advisory on December 16, 2016. According to NSE, the notice was a "result of a water sample analysis determining the presence of total coliform."
NSE adds that there were two other samples taken within that same week on December 13 and 19, both of which "were absent [of] total coliform and E.coli." NSE informed us that the follow up test results were enough to meet "the requirements to be removed" from the advisory. Residents were advised that the notice was "removed on December 20, 2016." The Nova Scotia government department informed us that Hillsborough Water Supply uses a "chlorine treatment" system.
This was not the first experience with water troubles that the unincorporated town has faced. The town looked to find solutions to long term issues. The town had a feasibility study conducted around a central water system project by local firm CBCL Limited in 2007.
According to that study "the Hillsborough Water Society was incorporated in 1905". In the beginning the system delivered water to the town "by gravity." It wasn't until eighty-five years later that the first well was drilled. The treatment process has not changed since the time of the study, in 2007 it was noted that it consisted of "the periodic manual addition of Javex to the reservoir". The Hillsborough Water Supply was finally registered with NSE in 2000 and was immediately placed on a "boil advisory".
Not all community members were connected to the water supply, and "24 service connections". The study points out that the community was serviced mostly by "private dug or drilled wells." This further complicates the water security issue in the area because, depending on variables like well depth, the water flows through cracks in the bedrock resulting in "highly variable yields."
The river itself presents particular challenges to those serviced by wells. The study showed that wells drilled that intercepted "aquifers located immediately adjacent to the river may be vulnerable to salt water intrusion." The water supply of those living in Bear River are also affected by the tides.
These were some of the issues facing Bear River drinking water, and it appears to have gotten to a crucial stage. In an issue of the Bear River Tributary, a town newsletter published by the historical society, an operator of the Hillsborough Water Supply was quoted as saying that "the water was unreliable and the system needs attention to the point where it may not last much longer." The town moved to look at a central distribution system and focus on connecting the town centre.
According to the Tributary, the proposed system would be a "user pay service but no home owner could be compelled to hook-up". This meant that those who did not connect to the new system would not be charged. Although the feasibility study points out that "there is a higher level of service and reliability with a central system".
The study identified a suitable area that would adequately meet the water needs of the town. Bear River, has had water quality issues for quite some time and was under a boil water advisory for the better part of the first decade of this century. In light of the boil advisory that was just removed, the towns water safety issues are not that far in the past.
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