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There’s Something in the Water shines spotlight on issue

The documentary film There’s Something in the Water, directed by Ellen Page and Ian Daniel, will screen at the Atlantic International Film Festival on Sept. 14 at 9:30 p.m. at Park Lane.
Shelburne’s South End Environmental Injustice Society (SEED) founder and president Louise Delisle is shown talking with director Ellen Page in a photo promoting the release of the documentary, There’s Something in the Water. FROM ONLINE - contributed

Documentary generating awareness, reaction to environmental racism

SHELBURNE, N.S. —

A new documentary that premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) on Sept. 8, and was also showcased at the FIN Atlantic International Film Festival in Halifax, has put Nova Scotia’s environmental racism issue in the spotlight.
There’s Something in the Water, co-directed by Halifax born actor Ellen Page and New York producer, filmmaker, writer and curator Ian Daniel, and written by fellow Nova Scotian Ingrid R. G. Waldron.
A description written by Waldron about There's Something in the Water in her book by the same name says that it, “examines the legacy of environmental racism and its health impacts in Indigenous and Black communities in Canada, using Nova Scotia as a case study, and the grassroots resistance activities by Indigenous and Black communities against the pollution and poisoning of their communities,."
Shelburne’s South End Environmental Injustice Society (SEED) are among the groups who are featured in the documentary. 
In 2018, SEED received a Human Rights Award for its work addressing environmental concerns in the African Nova Scotian community in the south end of Shelburne. From 1949 to 1990, a town landfill operated in the predominantly black community. SEED has felt the dump is a contributing factor to the high rates of cancer and health issues they’ve seen among the people who lived close to it.
SEED Founder Louise Delisle was in Toronto for the documentary's premiere screening.
"It was an amazing trip,” said Delisle. “I’ve never been so ushered around in all my life. From one studio to another, doing interviews here and there, the premiere of the film on the red carpet… it was amazing. It was surreal to me.”
The showing drew a standing ovation that lasted for at least five minutes, said Delisle.
“They just loved it,” she said, adding the film is generating awareness and reactions.
“We partnered with some real good people,” said Delisle, “Rural Water Watch, ENRCH, Ingrid and her book, Ellen and Ian… this has catapulted us to where we are now," she said. "People are aware, and are going to be more aware of what environmental racism means and what has happened in this community and why it's so important that I speak out against this. I’m doing this because I’m really tired of people just dropping dead from cancer in our community. This kind of thing can never happen again. It should never have happened in the first place.”
Delisle said working with Ellen Page was a joy. 
“This dear little woman is the most caring, passionate person that I think I’ve ever known in my life. She has an old spirit… a spirit of someone so good. She understands the whole concept of what happened in our community so much so she has stepped up,” beyond the film “and is going to pay for a drilled well in the community where people can go and get clean water.” 
SEED is one of the partners in a two-year applied research project started last year into water quality issues in the Shelburne African Nova Scotia community. The Pilot Scale Study of Potable Water using Ultrafiltration Technology in the Shelburne African Nova Scotia Community is being led by the Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC), Acadia University, Dalhousie University through ENRICH (Environmental Noxiousness, Racial Inequities & Community Health), and Rural Water Watch. 
Delisle said three sets of water tests have been done so far as part of the project. 
“The first and second tests came back bad so people started to shock their wells and clean their wells,” she said, with better results the third time around, but still not a clean bill of health. 
“We actually asked people to start boiling their water,” said Delisle.  "A lot of people are still not using their wells because of contamination. Ellen knows this and she stepped right up and offered to pay to have a community well to be used by anybody. That will be a good thing for Shelburne because we don’t have one. Clean, potable water, they have one in Liverpool. We need one here.”
Delisle said SEED has written to Shelburne town council requesting permission to have the well put on a piece of town property, and are awaiting a response.
The water test results are also the basis for the start of meetings organized by SEED and African Nova Scotia Affairs with various stakeholders and government officials to “talk about the state of the wells in our community," Delisle said.
“We’re hoping be able to get people to step up and put drilled wells in every yard.”

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