Some daycares, businesses closed as boil-water advisory continues in Halifax area

A number of daycares and businesses in the Halifax area are closed today and some grocery store shelves have be cleared of bottled water due to a boil-water advisory affecting a large swath of the municipality.

The advisory followed a power outage at a water treatment facility that serves 201,000 people. It covers Halifax, Bedford, Spryfield, Timberlea, Hammonds Plains, Beaver Bank, Middle and Lower Sackville, Windsor Junction, Herring Cove and parts of Fall River.

Halifax Water is recommending people boil their water for at least one minute if they are consuming it or using it for food preparation. Filtering water will not suffice, it said, and water should be boiled under the following circumstances:

  • Drinking.
  • Preparing infant formula.
  • Making ice cubes or juices.
  • Washing fruits or vegetables.
  • Cooking.
  • Brushing teeth; or
  • Any other activity requiring human consumption.

The advisory, issued Monday evening, forced some child-care centres to close Tuesday.

A Tiny Lab for Early Learning posted on Instagram that it would be closed to make plans for opening on Wednesday. 

Edward Jost Children’s Centres said with three centres serving 200 children, they do not have the capacity to boil the volume of water required for daily operations.

A number of Tim Hortons locations were closed Tuesday morning. The Bedford coffee shop at Mill Cove was reopening at noon on Tuesday, but would only be serving hot drinks, no cold or iced drinks.

Customers could be seen lining up outside Sobeys on Mumford Road early Tuesday morning. Later in the morning, the shelves had been cleared of bottled water.

The Sobeys on Mumford Road in Halifax was expecting another shipment of water later Tuesday. (Brooklyn Currie/CBC)

Jeff Myrick, communications manager for the utility, said an internal electrical issue at the JD Kline (Pockwock) Lake Water Treatment Facility allowed some unchlorinated water to enter the system for around 30 minutes.

“So normally if we have a issue with the pump or with power surge inside the facility, the circuits will trip and then a backup generator will kick in and provide the electricity needed to run the facility,” Myrick told Information Morning Nova Scotia on Tuesday.

“Unfortunately yesterday, whatever happened, we did not have a backup generator that went into place and which caused the situation we’re in right now.”

Myrick said the utility is investigating what went wrong.

He said the unchlorinated water will dissipate as it runs through the system, but that could take up to 48 hours.

“As it gets into the broader network, we have to keep testing to ensure that the water chlorine levels are are acceptable and that’s what we’re doing right now,” he said.

The doors to a grocery store with a sign that reads "sorry we are out of water."
Customers of the Sobeys on Mumford Road in Halifax were greeted by a sign telling them the store was sold out of water on Tuesday morning. (Brooklyn Currie/CBC)

Myrick said the advisory will not be lifted until the issue has been resolved.

The Pockwock facility, located in Upper Hammonds Plains, serves 201,000 people in the Halifax Regional Municipality.

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