Groundwater quality is influenced by the type of geologic materials and contact time with these materials in the groundwater flow system.
Groundwater quality in Nova Scotia is generally good, and in most areas of the province a properly constructed and maintained well can provide a source of clean, safe drinking water. Groundwater quality, however, is influenced by the type of geologic materials in contact with groundwater, and several types of naturally occurring water quality problems can occur, which is why it is important to regularly test your well water.
Naturally occurring water quality problems in Nova Scotia include arsenic, chloride, fluoride, hardness, iron, manganese, radionuclides, radon, sulphate and uranium. Risk areas for naturally occurring arsenic and uranium/radionuclides have been mapped across the province, and a summary of the province’s activities related to arsenic in well water can be found here. Chloride can also pose a problem in wells located close to the ocean due to the movement of seawater into coastal aquifers. To find out more about seawater intrusion vulnerability click here.
The Department of Natural Resources collects and publishes groundwater quality information from various sources. Groundwater quality can be found on the Groundwater Interactive Map and the Groundwater Chemistry Atlas of Nova Scotia. Groundwater quality information, summarized by groundwater region, can also be found here.
For more information on natural contaminants and drinking water quality and treatment visit Nova Scotia Environment.