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Foul-Smelling Black Water Plagues First Nation’s Community of Potlotek

Posted by Doug Marrison on

In the small Nova Scotia First Nation’s community of Potlotek, high levels of iron and manganese has turned household drinking water into a brown, foul-smelling sludge.

Water testing conducted by Health Canada has deemed the water safe to drink, despite containing more than 25 times the amount of manganese recommended in the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water.

After ample protests by the community, the government has reduced the timeframe for installing a new treatment system from 3-5 years, to 2 years. For the people of Potlotek, that means 2 more years without water to cook, clean or drink.

Inhabitants of Potlotek have also complained that the water has been causing skin rashes and stomach problems throughout the community.

Despite the assurances from Health Canada claiming that the water is safe to drink, Potlotek’s chief has sent out memos urging residents to avoid ingesting the water in any way. When the water in your community is black as tar, I’d say that is a good decision to make.

While we may take it for granted, clean water is not always a guaranteed luxury. If this is what Health Canada deems as drinkable water, I think the regulations for what is drinkable water needs to be heavily evaluated.


Photo Courtesy of CBC

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