Wells, pesticides don’t
UPdate March 2000
There are approximately
20,000 drinking water wells in the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM).
Guess who doesn’t even know where the wells are when lawn pesticides are
used? The sprayers and the City.
Halifax Regional Council should
take immediate action to stop the almost certain wide-scale contamination
of drinking water supplies, without waiting for the Pesticide Bylaw Advisory
Committee to complete its slow work on general bylaw provisions.
drinking water is of fundamental importance to each member of our community.
Any risk of contamination by toxic materials, such as pesticides, must
be dealt with quickly to avoid risk to the population.
of landscape pesticides should be temporarily suspended until the location
of thousands of drinking water wells in HRM are accurately determined and
protected by adequate buffer zones prohibiting any pesticide use.
data and mapping coordinates on HRM wells are incomplete, but approximately
19,000 wells exist in the western half of HRM alone, according to RG Hydro-Environmental
Limited. Additional wells lie in the eastern half. Wellhead protection
programs are being implemented widely in many parts of North America, as
municipal governments take stock of liability risks, as well as their responsibility
to the public. In the state of Oregon, wellhead protection programs are
based on the distance groundwater moves in ten years.
is being done in HRM at present to insure that wells are not contaminated
by landscape pesticide applications than is being done to prevent contamination
from E. coli bacteria from septic systems. When a resident applies for
a permit to build a septic system, the City dispatches an inspector to
determine if any drinking water wells are nearby. If there are, the permit
is rejected. Shouldn’t the same procedure be followed for lawn pesticide
is a matter of great urgency as pesticide contamination of drinking water
can damage health severely and permanently. It is mandatory that landscape
applications by homeowners and landscaping companies be immediately suspended
until HRM can be certain these are not taking place near the source of
drinking water of any resident in the municipality.
—Helen Jones, Dartmouth, N.S.