Sunday, November 17, 2013

House Hunting and Arsenic in the Water

Thirty minutes ago Andrew and I signed a piece of paper accepting a counter offer to a house...

SQUEE!!!!!! (photos will have to wait until it's a done deal and we're moved in... which wouldn't be until early January 2014)

After almost three months of looking, we finally found a home that may meet *most* of our needs. That and it has a yellow door that I absolutely love... and three peaks. I really like peaks.

It's honestly been a bit of a whirlwind, despite the fact that we've been looking forever. The house came up on the market Wednesday evening. We asked our realtor to book a viewing asap; which equaled Saturday morning. Yesterday we looked at the home, fell in love and put in an offer an hour later.

I am dreaming of the zero-VOC paint colour palate, my childhood piano placement and getting my dad to make me a long lasting clothesline. Visions of bird feeders, a small vegetable garden and having friends and family gatherings around a fantastic open kitchen fill up my mental landscape. It's a fun and exciting time!

And a bit of an overwhelming time. This process also involves quite a bit of testing. Home inspection will happen as well as septic and well water testing since this home is outside of municipal septic and water.

The scary part is that we already suspect there is arsenic in the water as the current homeowners have a reverse osmosis system installed for the drinking water in the kitchen. Nova Scotia actually has a problem with arsenic in the water supply, more so in the areas of bedrock (which is where "our" (future hopefully!) house is).

Nova Scotia (and the Government of Canada) have set acceptable guidelines to 10 micrograms per litre... but we all know how well the government is at setting guidelines based on health research (ie, terrible). Health problems from arsenic are quite severe (which makes sense since it's a poison), ranging from vomiting to cancer.

Although it's mostly drinking water that is the main concern, bathing, showering, brushing my teeth, washing the vegetables, cooking- having arsenic in the water would make me nervous. My ultimate goal, if there was arsenic in the well water, would be to install a point-of-entry treatment system (treating all the water in the house as opposed a point-of-use which is currently installed in the kitchen). Those treatments can be costly; so we'd have to save up for it.

Does anyone else have arsenic in their water? How do you treat it? Point-of-entry system thoughts?


  1. Ack! How did I not know about the arsenic? Is there an easy way to test? Yikes.

    Also, congrats on the new house! If you need any help packing, I'm an EXPERT.

    1. I know, I remember hearing about it and not thinking too much. I think it's more of an issue near the bedford areas..... :S

      I do think it's easy to test, but if you are on city water you should also be fine. i'm pretty sure they treat the water for that. :) but if you wanted to test i think there are home kits and then you bring it into a water testing place (the ns website has links i think).

      we're getting a water testing person to do it though, since we're also testing for a large variety of things to make sure everything is ok, and if not that it will get dealt with prior to move in.

      thank yoU! we are excited :)

  2. First - congrats! Second - Can you negotiate that as part of the offer? I was able to get the homeowners to do a lot of work before I bought my house, including decommissioning the oil tank. I was also able to finance the installation of a high energy efficiency gas furnace into my mortgage - when in doubt it doesn't hurt to ask :) That's the fun in buying a home all the projects that you get to do. But the best part is more than that - it's yours and no landlord can tell you what you can and can't do, yayyyyyy! Have fun!

  3. oy. installing a point of entry system definitely sounds like the kind of thing that's worth it to do when you own and you don't have to deal with whatever cheap option a landlord is going to do. congrats!

  4. Congratulations (the American Dream is also the Canadian Dream; maybe it's in human nature)!

    I wonder if Vancouver water is high in arsenic. I also wonder if my simple Brita filter removes it.

    Next year's IYAC (Iyengar Yoga Association of Canada) conference will take place in Halifax! I don't know if I'll be attending; would you care to convince me that Nova Scotia is worth a trip? (This year's conference was close to home in Victoria. In Canada, domestic flights are much more expensive than in the USA. Flying cross country costs as much as flying to another continent!)


  5. Yay! So happy you found your dream home (minus the arsenic of course). Good luck. I hope the inspection goes well and it all works out :)

  6. CONGRATS! I'm so excited for you! What an exciting time! I hope the arsenic issue has been cleared up!!

  7. Then I guess a home inspection is indeed in order. Even news of the presence of arsenic in the water supply is enough to put anyone on high alert. Known for causing skin damage and/or increasing the risk of cancer in its victims, introducing arsenic in your body via your bloodstream or in this case, your drinking water, will have dire consequences. It’s better to be safe and sorry.

    Edwin Allen @ InspectitIncorporated


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