Conference report: Aboriginal Water & Wastewater Association of Ontario

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AWWAO irst Nation’s Water Taste Challenge Winners
Winners of the AWWAO's First Nation’s Water Taste Challenge. South Region winner Edward Black, Wahgoshig First Nation. North Region winner Jonathon Riberdy, Zhiibaahaasing First Nation.

Toronto hosts a successful 23rd annual Aboriginal Water & Wastewater Association of Ontario’s Conference and Tradeshow.

Held February 27 – March 1, 2018, in downtown Toronto, the event gathered water and wastewater professionals from across the province to participate in training courses, network with suppliers and government representatives, and celebrate achievements in protecting public health.

The Aboriginal Water and Wastewater Association of Ontario (AWWAO) is an information source for water environment, operator training, certification issues, and technology. Its members include professionals from Ontario First Nations, environmental health officers, Tribal Councils, municipal suppliers and some government agencies.

Over 84 operators attended the event, some traveling from as far away as Kenora, which is located near Ontario’s border with Manitoba.

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Training courses delivered by Walkerton Clean Water Centre, Keewaytinook Centre of Excellence and World Water Operator Training, covered advanced groundwater systems, iron and manganese control, WHMIS, health and safety, nutrient removal, and distribution systems.

Also on display were a wide variety of suppliers and consultants serving the water and wastewater industry. In the exhibition area, 34 companies showcased their products and services while networking with attendees.

A tradition of the AWWAO event is the coveted First Nations Water Taste Challenge award that was presented at the banquet on February 28. The challenge involves a panel of judges weighing the taste and appearance of tap water produced by reserve water systems.

Judges of the First Nation’s Water Taste Challenge looked at taste, clarity, appearance and overall thirst quenching satisfaction.

Judges were asked to swish and swirl the water sample and base their judgement on the taste, clarity, appearance and overall thirst quenching satisfaction of the treated water, awarding a value ranging from 0-5 for each criteria.  A winner from the North region and the South region is then chosen.

AWWAO irst Nation’s Water Taste Challenge Winners
Winners of the AWWAO’s First Nation’s Water Taste Challenge. South Region winner Edward Black, Wahgoshig First Nation. North Region winner Jonathon Riberdy, Zhiibaahaasing First Nation.

South Region Winner: Wahgoshig First Nation. Edward Black accepted this award on behalf of his community.

North Region Winner: Zhiibaahaasing First Nation. Jonathon Riberdy accepted this award on behalf of his community.

AWWAO Operator of the Year winner Frederick Dubeau, Chippewas of Nawash.

Also recognized at the banquet was the AWWAO Operator of the Year award. This award recognizes the important role that water treatment operators play in their communities.

AWWAO Chairperson Ian Fortin presented the Operator of the Year Award to Frederick Dubeau from Chippewas of Nawash.

Next year Thunder Bay will host the 2019 AWWAO conference and tradeshow. The event rotates between north and south each year to represent and accommodate the geographic scope of the association’s members.

For more information on the Aboriginal Water and Wastewater Association of Ontario, visit: www.awwao.org

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