Newly-built water treatment plant connections have allowed the federal government to lift five long-term drinking water advisories for the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte First Nation in southern Ontario.
The advisories had been in effect since 2008 on five water systems in the Belleville-area community. Now, the new connections to the water distribution system mean access to clean, reliable drinking water for approximately 280 homes, 20 semi-public buildings and 756 community members.
The water treatment plant connections were phase three of the $19.5-million waterline project, which began in early 2021 under funding from Indigenous Services Canada. The wells that had been in use have now been decommissioned as homes and buildings were connected to the water distribution system.
Chief R. Donald Maracle of the Mohawks of the Bay Quinte First Nation announced that he is “grateful to our MBQ infrastructure team and all contractors who worked diligently throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to successfully complete this vital project,” and adds that the community will “look forward to future waterline projects slated for 2023.”
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Planning for the next phase of the project is expected to cost about $30 million and provide water to an additional 280 homes.
In 2019, the community added nearly 23 kilometres of water distribution pipe. The work included five separate watermain extensions (for a combined total of 8,094 metres in length) and the installation of a below-grade cistern. Phase two of the project also included the construction of an elevated water storage reservoir.
The Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte Water Treatment Plant won the 2017 Ontario Public Works Project of the Year Award in the Small Municipality and Communities category.
Local officials noted that a retroactive long-term advisory was recently added for the community’s Public Works Garage. It is the only building remaining among those affected by the semi-public water system advisory yet to be connected to the distribution system. The building is anticipated to be connected to the communal distribution system through the First Nation’s project, funded under Infrastructure Canada’s Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund.