Solution to Harrietsfield water woes would be costly for residents

Residents in Harrietsfield, N.S., may have a solution to their water woes, but it would come at a hefty price out of pocket.

Marlene Brown, a resident of the Halifax-area community, attended a meeting on Aug. 9 set up between about a dozen residents and staff of Halifax Water and the municipality to discuss a proposal to extend water services to the area.

She told CBC's Information Morning on Monday each homeowner would be looking at paying "at least $27,000."

"Once we got in there, all the different departments sat at one end of the table, myself and other residents sat at the other end of the table," Brown said. "I saw next to no compassion at all and we just walked out more frustrated than when we went in."

Harrietsfield residents haven't been able to use their well water for years because heavy metals from a former auto recycling depot contaminated it.

Both the federal government and province would be chipping in money for the water project, which is still in the proposal phase.

Brown said the federal government would contribute 40 per cent, the province would contribute 33 per cent and the rest of the cost would be on residents.

Brown said $27,000 would be too much money for many residents, plus that cost would not include adding a water lateral, which would add more to the total.

Coun. Stephen Adams told CBC News on Tuesday the cost residents would have to shoulder is "an estimate, it's not a hard number."

He said the municipality and Halifax Water are also looking at other options that could work in the area, like a cistern or a smaller system that would include the drilling of a well for a cluster of homes.

"There's a number of different options available and we're looking at each and every one of them," Adams said.

Adams said he heard from some residents that some of their water systems weren't working properly, so he sent a letter to the province on Tuesday to "remedy those situations." 

Once more accurate figures for the project are available, Adams said he would send out a questionnaire to Harrietsfield residents for feedback.