Halifax Water says no swimming in harbour after wastewater pump fails

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A 2021 file image of the steps leading into the Halifax harbour. Halifax Water is advising people not to swim in or make contact with harbour water because stormwater and wastewater are flowing in. (CBC - image credit)
A 2021 file image of the steps leading into the Halifax harbour. Halifax Water is advising people not to swim in or make contact with harbour water because stormwater and wastewater are flowing in. (CBC - image credit)

Halifax Water is advising people not to swim or to do anything that requires contacting the water in Halifax harbour until further notice.

On Tuesday, the utility said the failure of an emergency pump is the cause of stormwater and wastewater flowing into the harbour.

"We would strongly advise residents to not go swimming or participate in any recreational activities that require water contact ... just to be on the safe side," said Jeff Myrick, a spokesperson for Halifax Water.

"Once this has been remedied from a treatment perspective, the water body will go back to a normal level of bacteria, but until then this is a risk to the public."

Emergency repairs are in the works while a replacement pump is located. Halifax Water said it has notified federal, provincial and municipal authorities.

"We don't know how long it will take, but probably a couple of days to address this as quickly and as safely as possible," said Myrick.

The pump failure is not related to the water main break at Prince and Granville streets earlier on Tuesday.

Water service is temporarily shut down in that area and there's no estimated restoration time.

Robert Short/CBC
Robert Short/CBC

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