Well-Water Testing Kits Free for Wildfire Evacuees
The Province is urging people who have wells and live in the areas that were evacuated because of wildfires to take steps to make sure their drinking water is safe.
Wildfires can damage wells and impact drinking water.
Starting Tuesday, June 6, people can pick up well-water testing kits in Halifax Regional Municipality at the fire station at 2050 Hammonds Plains Rd. and at provincial Environment and Climate Change regional offices in Yarmouth and Bridgewater. More locations will be listed at: https://novascotia.ca/alerts/
The Province will cover testing costs for evacuees.
“As people return to their homes after being evacuated, we know wildfires can impact well water and drinking water,” said Premier Tim Houston. “Our government is working now to get well-water test kits into the hands of the people who need them, and the Province will pay all testing fees. We want this testing to be easy, convenient and with no added financial stress.”
People must flush and disinfect well water before testing it. Information on how to do this will be posted at https://novascotia.ca/alerts today, June 5.
People can get help interpreting their test results using the online tool at the Test Your Well Water web page – https://novascotia.ca/well-water-testing/ – or by calling their local Environment and Climate Change office or 1-877-9ENVIRO.
If there are any unusual smells or colours in well water after flushing and disinfection, or potential contamination nearby, additional testing will be needed to make sure the water is safe. People should contact Environment and Climate Change for more information at 902-424-2547 or 1-877-9ENVIRO. In the meantime, people should use bottled water for drinking, brushing teeth and for pets.
- risks to well water from wildfires can include damaged fuel tanks and ashes from burned materials that wash into the soil and eventually into well water
- after flushing and disinfecting a well, people should wait three to four days to test
- even if there is no fire damage near a property, it is still important for people to walk the property and confirm that there is no damage to the on-site sewage system, fuel oil tank or well
- if there don’t seem to be any issues, the main risk is that water has sat in the well and plumbing for a while, or the well may have been depressurized if the power was out
Information on using a well after a wildfire: https://novascotia.ca/alerts
Information on flushing and disinfesting a well is at: https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/a1cf639fda644d65978648d4ff7833bb