Clean Water for Shelburne's Black Community

The Black community in Shelburne, Nova Scotia needs clean drinking water now. 
To achieve this goal and in response to inaction from all levels of government SEED (South End Environmental Injustice Society) is fundraising a minimum of $15,000 to provide residential UV water disinfection systems to Black residents who have bacteria in their dug wells. Approximately 30 UV units are required and will cost around $500 per unit including installation. Any funds raised above this amount will be used to support SEED in our work to ensure environmental justice and reparations for Shelburne’s historic Black community. 

In partnership with Rural Water Watch SEED began water quality testing for Black residents of South End Shelburne in 2018. Samples were collected from 14 homes, 7 of the samples tested positive for total coliform. 6 of the samples tested positive for both total coliform and E. coli. Only one sample tested negative for all bacteria. A second round of confirmation tests were submitted to the laboratory at the Roseway Hospital. To help solve this issue SEED has been working to create a partnership with the Town of Shelburne to install a community well and created a working group including Housing Nova Scotia. We have successfully helped some residents receive well upgrades but the program has strict eligibility requirements that prevent all residents from benefitting. This fundraiser will ensure SEED can provide a UV water disinfection system to members of Shelburne’s Black community who are impacted by bacteria in their drinking water. 

About SEED
Founded in early 2016 SEED was started by African Nova Scotian Shelburne resident Louise Delisle. SEED was awarded the Group Award at the 2018 Nova Scotia Human Rights Awards Celebration for our work addressing environmental concerns in the African Nova Scotian community in the south end of Shelburne. 

In 2019 and 2020 SEED made international news with the release of “There’s Something in The Water” a documentary by director Elliot Page based on the book by Dr. Ingrid R.G. Waldron of the same name. 

There is a long history of environmental racism in Nova Scotia, with industrial pollution and other environmental hazards located near communities of colour and the working poor. In Shelburne, African Nova Scotian residents live primarily in the south end of town, which is also the site of a landfill that was used for industrial, medical, and residential waste over a period of seventy-five years. 

SEED is a nonprofit community initiative that represents a direct grassroots response to the siting of the landfill near the African Nova Scotian and working-poor community in Shelburne. Members of this collective organization have developed an approach that allows for the contributions of all members, in an effort that addresses issues of environmental racism and responds in a way that is continually evolving. 

Ultimately, SEED hopes that evidence-based strategies will be used to improve health outcomes and reduce the prevalence of chronic disease as a result of everyday exposures to toxic substances experienced by Black community members in Shelburne.

Media Inquiries 
Please contact SEED Chair director Vanessa Hartley by email at [email redacted]
  • Anonymous 
    • $200 
    • 7 d
  • Anonymous 
    • $10 
    • 2 mos
  • Scarlett Kleint 
    • $3,000 
    • 3 mos
  • Mimi Champagne 
    • $75 
    • 4 mos
  • Jill Taylor 
    • $25 
    • 5 mos
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

SEED South End Environmental Injustice Society 
Shelburne, NS
Vanessa Hartley 
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