Dal says chemicals that leaked into water supply were 'low toxicity'

Dalhousie University

Dalhousie officials say the chemicals that leaked into the water supply of the Marion McCain Building on Thursday are food grade, and low toxicity, but they still encourage anyone who drank the water in the building to seek medical attention.

Officials say the first is a descaling chemical containing citric acid. The other is a solution with propylene glycol that's used to stop the pipes from freezing.

When the Marion McCain building was evacuated Thursday morning, hundreds of students, some in the middle of midterm exams rushed from the building.

"I trust the safety precautions in the buildings, right?" said student Rowan Walsh. "They usually don't let things go too far before they evacuate people so I definitely trust the procedures that were taken."

"My apartment's close, so it would depend if it was the same water, because I drink that water," said student Grace Fahey. "I don't want to be drinking it."

The good news is officials say there's no concern that this tainted water could get into the city grid. Representatives from Halifax Water say the building is outfitted with a back-flow preventer, which means none of the water will be able to leave the area.

There are no reported health issues today, but there is confusion among students.

Many classes and exams have been cancelled or moved.

The water supply in the building has been flushed, and the samples have been sent for testing. The building should remain closed until at least Monday.

Dalhousie officials tell CTV that a small number of people contacted Student Health and Wellness on Thursday, following the school's announcement, but wouldn't say if any health problems were reported.

The entire water system was flushed on Thursday. It was drained overnight, and was flushed again on Friday.

(With files from CTV Atlantic's Emily Baron Cadloff.)