Environment Department investigates Nova Scotia mini home park water problems
Lease specifies homeowners are responsible for their own drinking water
-by Yvonne Colbert, originally posted on May 17, 2016
A mini home park in Barrington, N.S., is under investigation by the provincial Department of Environment after not following orders to correct a contaminated water problem identified more than a year ago.
In addition, the department said the owner may not have informed residents of the contamination, leaving them to drink tainted well water for the past year.
The department issued a boil water order for residents of Anthony Mini Home Park on April 15, 2015. According to its website, “Boil water advisories are issued when sampling and testing detects higher than accepted amounts of coliform bacteria or if there are deficiencies with regard to chlorination or other forms of disinfection.”
The department was contacted by a park resident on April 21 of this year and began notifying residents of the unsafe water after learning that “prior notification from the park’s owner may not have been provided.”
Owner said he notified residents
The owner of the mini home park, Ken Anthony, told CBC News he notified tenants about the contaminated water at the time the boil order was issued.
“I would have sent a letter out to the superintendent and they would have passed it around to different homes,” he said.
Anthony disputes the department’s contention that, as a registered water supply, he is required to provide safe water to the park’s residents.
He provided CBC News with a partial copy of the lease which states that the landlord is not responsible for potable water, only the delivery of water. Homeowners “are responsible to supply their own drinking water at all times,” the lease says.
It goes on to say the landlord “takes absolutely no responsibility” if there is ever any coliform in the water.
Anthony said homeowners are well versed in regards to the water problem.
Jamie Reynolds is a real estate agent who recently bought a home in the park and was listing one of the homes on the park when he spoke to CBC News.
“I think if you went and knocked on every person’s door in this mini home park that they would all tell you they don’t drink [the water],” he said. “It’s common knowledge. It’s not like he’s been hiding anything from anybody.”
Anthony said he has agreed to install a UV light to try and eliminate coliform from the water after one tenant complained but he’s still doesn’t feel it’s his responsibility to provide safe drinking water.
“It’s extremely, extremely expensive to put in a system that will guarantee [good water] and that’s why I put it over to the homeowner’s responsibility,” Anthony said.
Owner has been fined
The Department of Environment said two directives requiring the park’s owner to hire a qualified person to assess the wells and provide a recommended corrective actions plan acceptable to the department, have not been met.
“A summary offence ticket in the amount of $812.50 was issued to the park’s owner on March 24, 2016, ” department spokeswoman Heather Fairbairn said .
As for the owner’s contention that he doesn’t have to provide safe drinking water because of the clause in the tenant’s leases, Fairbairn said “the Anthony Mini Home Park has been operating as a registered water supply since 2001 and is therefore subject to the regulations.”
She said the department is working closely with the Medical Officer of Health on this matter and necessary enforcement actions are being undertaken to bring the park’s owner into compliance.
The mini home park is currently for sale.