Two long-term boil water advisories lifted, one added, for Ontario First Nations

Upgrades of $29 million over five years for the Sachigo Lake First Nation included work on the current water treatment plant, pictured, and an extension of the water distribution system and wastewater lagoon. Photo credit: Penn-co Construction Inc.

Long-term boil water advisories have been lifted in two Ontario First Nation communities following upgrades to the local water treatment plants, announced Indigenous Services Canada.

In the community of Sachigo Lake, about 640 kilometres north of Thunder Bay, a four-year boil water advisory has been lifted for the more than 500 people living on the reserve. Upgrades of $29 million over five years included work on the current water treatment plant and an extension of the water distribution system and wastewater lagoon.

Operational support for Sachigo Lake was provided through an ISC-funded Hub delivered by Windigo Tribal Council, which noted that the community has been relying on bottled water for drinking water since the advisory started, and a standalone reverse osmosis unit at the local store.

While Wabigoon Lake Ojibway Nation — known as Treaty 3 near the Manitoba border — is still waiting for a full water plant upgrade, the most recent boil water advisory initiated in the fall is over for 95 homes and seven community buildings.

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Recent upgrades to the water treatment plant include the installation of a new back-up power system and high-volume pump. ISC is currently working with the First Nation to advance the design stage of their project to address the long-term water needs of the community. For instance, the First Nation is waiting on federal approval to replace cast iron pipes that still leaves a boil water advisory in place for a school and daycare on the reserve.

A drinking water advisory affecting Chippewas of the Thames First Nation’s public water system, in Ontario, became long-term on December 14, as it has been in effect for more than 12 months. Repairs to the distribution system to address any leaks are complete. A feasibility study is currently underway to assess options to meet the community’s long-term drinking water needs.

ISC’s website says there are still 30 long-term advisories in 26 First Nations across the 10 Canadian provinces.

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