Water safety

Halifax water quality high, but system can be improved

Audit recommends more frequent reporting on Halifax water testing results

Halifax water is safe to drink, according to an audit.   Jonah Cole

On Wednesday morning, Mayor Mike Savage asked Auditor General Evangeline Colman-Sadd if she would go home and confidently take a sip of her tap water. 

She said she would.

This was in response to the results from Colman-Sadd’s report on water quality. The report, presented to the Audit and Finance Standing Committee, found municipal water is safe to drink, but recommended a tightening of regulations.

Auditor General Evangeline Colman-Sadd presents her water audit report.   Jonah Cole

Conducted between April 2015 and March 2017, the audit recommends Halifax Water send weekly water quality reports to Nova Scotia Environment. Halifax Water, which provides service for more than 365,000 residents, currently sends monthly, quarterly and annual quality reports to Nova Scotia Environment.

The report noted that Halifax Water carries out daily checks on water safety, but does not send these daily checks to Nova Scotia Environment.

The audit also found three instances of missing water samples; it was suggested a staff member should do a secondary check of every report to avoid similar errors.

Halifax Water agreed with all of the recommendations in the report.

“There are a few things—undertones that we could spruce up,” Halifax Water spokesperson James Campbell said in an interview after the meeting, referring to the audit recommendations to send reports to Nova Scotia Environment and update Halifax Water’s computer system.

“We would say those are certainly things we can look at, a couple of which we have already moved on to.”

Campbell also said the audit was “very balanced.”

“Folks need to realize that the water is treated to the highest standards here,” he said. “The staff are very professional; they have all the qualifications they need to look after the water treatment.”