South Shelburne is the first community to work with Rural Water Watch in a water quality sampling assessment. Located on Nova Scotia's South Shore, Shelburne's South End neighbourhood is predominately African-Nova Scotian. Since the 1950s, this community has lived beside an unregulated, unlined dump, raising concerns among residents about the safety of their water supply.
The project in South Shelburne came about after members of Rural Water Watch were approached by the South End Environmental Injustice Society (SEED), an activist group in South Shelburne. SEED successfully lobbied the Shelburne Town Council to close the dump in 2015, but to date, no work has been done to clean up the site. South End residents report high instances of cancer, and were concerned contamination from the dump was leeching into their drinking water wells.
All photos on this page contributed by Ted Lavender
Throughout the fall of 2018, Rural Water Watch volunteers collected water samples from 24 homes in the community. Houses were scanned variously for total metals, total coliform bacteria and e. coli, and contaminants.
At this time, there was no indication that contaminants from the dump are adversely affecting drinking water wells in the community. However, many homes in the community tested positively for coliform bacteria, including e. coli. After a second round of tests to confirm the presence of these bacteria, homeowners were advised to chlorinate their wells.
After the sampling was finished, members of Rural Water Watch's Board of Directors gave a presentation to the South Shelburne community explaining the general water quality results in the community. Rural Water Watch continues to work with the South Shelburne community to improve their water quality.