Halifax to fight stinky suit ruling

Willis was awarded $81,000 for enduring the stench of sewage


Halifax to fight stinky suit rulingHalifax farmer Allison Willis woke up to the smell of raw sewage every day for 19 years. “You know what s–t smells like. It was terrible. I had to keep my windows closed. I couldn’t go outside.”

The odious odour ended last year, when a nearby sewage treatment plant that had been polluting the lake near Willis’s property was closed. But that wasn’t enough for Willis, 70. He sued the city of Halifax, demanding compensation for the years he was unable to enjoy his property. Last month a Nova Scotia court awarded him $81,000 in damages.

Halifax city council isn’t happy, and is appealing the ruling. “I want to be sure that all the evidence has been considered,” says the city’s deputy mayor, David Hendsbee. “Were there any other contributing factors that were not brought to the attention or the understanding of the judge?”

While he admits that the sewage treatment plant may have been emitting a foul smell, Hendsbee claims the municipality did everything it reasonably could to prevent the facility from becoming a public nuisance. According to Hends­bee, local pig farmers should also shoulder some of the blame. They’ve been dumping animal waste into city sewers, overloading a system that’s only meant to deal with household effluence.

A date has not been set for the city’s appeal, but council fears that the ruling will motivate other city residents to launch similar lawsuits. “The question is the slippery slope. If you let the first one through the gate will there be a flood of more later?”

Hendsbee says that he has no problem paying compensation—but he doesn’t believe the city should have to foot the entire bill. He suggests that a communal solution, drawing money from both the city and the province, could be a better resolution. “There’s a shared responsibility across the board here,” he claims. “Why should the municipality be stuck holding the bag?


Halifax to fight stinky suit ruling

  1. Atlantic and Pacific Ocean waters have been polluted with untreated sewage for many years. Both Halifax and Victoria flush their untreated waste directly into the Atlantic or Pacific.

    Human waste flowing through the pipes includes more than the obvious. Also flushed are undigested pharmaceuticals, toxic commercial chemical cleaners, home cleaners, new anti-bacterial cleaners that contain nanoparticles, toxic personal products (such as hair dye and perm solutions), medications, raw and cooked foods, pesticide and oil runoff from gardens and streets which flow into street drains and out to sea, to name of few of the other pollutants.

    Comox, British Columbia uses a sewage treatment process that, over time, produces extremely rich fertilizer. The treated people poop is growing plants up to 3x normal size and should be looked into for use on both coasts. Canada is accepting applications for development. Constructing proper treatment facilities on both coasts should be a priority.

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