New tests show much improved water quality in Shelburne

Greg Bennett
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Water tests taken in December show much improved water quality from six months ago in Shelburne.

By Greg Bennett

Recent water tests in the Town of Shelburne show much improved water quality from six months ago.

Water problems had been causing the Town grief over the summer as operators struggled with a bout of brown water and then higher than permitted levels of THMs.

Tests conducted on Dec. 13 and certified by AGAT Laboratories in Dartmouth, show THM levels have dropped significantly at two testing sites; the Town Hall and at the Shelburne Regional High School.

At SRHS, water tests found trihalomethane levels of 32 micrograms per litre. At the town hall, levels were even lower at 20 mg/ per litre, both measures well within Health Canada limits.

Those are far better tests than those taken six months ago when brown water, partly caused by a surge of storm water was present in the system

High levels of trihalomethanes, more than double permissible under Environment Canada guidelines, were also a big problem and the issue involved the help of CBCL Engineers, the company responsible for the town’s water plant installation.

With improvements, tests at the end of September found THM levels had fallen to acceptable levels, but just barely.  More repairs to the town’s water system were completed a short time later as well as new monitoring processes enacted.

Town officials stressed that the water continued to be potable throughout the problems and it did not pose any immediate health risk.

THMs occur when chlorine reacts to organic matter (such as leaves) in water. While there is no immediate concern, high THM levels over long periods of time have been linked to a slight increase in risk for the development of bladder cancer as well as stillbirths in pregnant women.

Several years ago Environment Canada dropped the permissible THM levels in public drinking water from 300 to 100 micrograms of THMs per litre of water. The town water readings were nearly 250 micrograms/ litre in August. Readings in September averaged just under 100 micrograms/litre.

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