News / Halifax

Turn on the taps: Halifax Water in the clear after auditor general report

A report by Halifax's auditor general does say the utility could be doing a better job of cataloguing and reporting its water quality test results.

Ryan Pfeiffer / Torstar file

The city’s mayor says the bottom line from the auditor general’s report on Halifax Water is it’s safe to drink what comes from our taps.

Auditor General Evangeline Colman-Sadd tabled a report at the municipality’s Audit and Finance Committee on Wednesday, concluding that the utility is doing a good job with water quality testing overall, but there is some room for improvement.

“I think the bottom line is that there’s nothing in these reports that would cause people to not go home and drink Halifax Water,” Mayor Mike Savage said after Colman-Sadd’s presentation.

Citing his time on the Halifax Water board, Savage said the water here “has consistently been regarded as the best drinking water in the country.”

Colman-Sadd couldn’t confirm that point, but said she wouldn’t hesitate to drink the water here.

“Any of the testing that we did showed that they’re compliant with their regulations and that Halifax Water staff react fairly quickly whenever an issue does arise to take corrective action,” she told reporters after the meeting.

Her report, the second since she started the job last year, contained nine recommendations, mostly around confirmation and reporting of test results.

“They have scheduled monitoring that they do of water sampling of a regular basis, and there’s a small amount of that that they aren’t confirming is completed,” Colman-Sadd said.

The report also recommends that Halifax Water clarify its requirement to report test results to the Nova Scotia Department of Environment.

“They have two divisions that do water testing: regulatory services and water services. They report all of the results from regulatory services, but their understanding is that they don’t need to report all water services fines, however, I don’t think that’s clear in terms of their operating permits or the regulations,” she said.

Halifax Water management accepted all of the report’s recommendations.

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