Work has started on the new drinking water system in Neyaashiinigmiing

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Drinking water distribution system upgrades begin this month in Neyaashiinigmiing, as part of a $60 million water pumping station distribution and replacement project aimed at ending a boil water advisory in effect since January 2019.

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A groundbreaking ceremony was held last week in the community for the water distribution portion of the work for the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation, north of Wiarton on the Bruce Peninsula.

“Spring means a season of new growth and new beginnings as the days get longer, cold turns to heat and gray bursts into vibrant color,” Chef Veronica Smith said in the press release. .

“This spring also represents an important milestone for our community, a long overdue undertaking; the establishment of critical infrastructures.

Construction work on the new pumping station began in November. Clean, treated drinking water from the bay is expected to flow by September 2023, according to a community update posted on the group’s website in February.

Local company Bridge Excavating has been appointed to install two booster pump stations, 14 kilometers of water pipes and 300 water services to individual properties, according to a press release from the group.

The community of 751 people has 264 houses and 20 community buildings.

The capacity of the new processing plant “will support growth over the next two decades,” said Anna Comerton, project engineer at Associated Engineering, in the press release.

The new plant will replace the current treatment plant, which cannot always be relied upon to adequately treat water drawn from Georgian Bay, water manager Fred Dubeau said in an interview last July.

The new plant will be state-of-the-art, with filtration, UV disinfection and a large clear well under the water plant to retain water from the bay, he said.

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The current plant does not have a clear well in which to chlorinate water and hold it for disinfection. Currently, water is pumped through the plant and directly into the distribution system. Some filtering equipment he uses was outdated when installed, as was the plant layout, Dubeau said.

Seventy percent of treated water is lost to leaks, mostly where service lines tap into a water main, Dubeau said. Repairs to the service lines uncovered in places “agricultural grade pipes down to garden hoses”.

The new plant will provide more water pressure, which will help with fire protection, he said.

Indigenous Services Canada provides most of the funding, while the band’s share is $700,000, ISC confirmed in a letter to the band on July 2.

Meanwhile, an April 1 newsletter to the community on the band’s website urges members to seek their share of a First Nations drinking water class action lawsuit settlement.

The lawsuit was brought to address Canada’s failure to take all reasonable steps to ensure First Nations reserves have adequate access to safe drinking water. The final settlement agreement was approved by the courts last December.

The roughly $8 billion settlement includes $6 billion for community water and wastewater infrastructure and the rest is for compensation to individuals and First Nations, the bulletin said.

The settlement applies to certain First Nations and their members who were subject to a drinking water advisory that lasted at least one year between November 20, 1995 and June 20, 2021. The advisory Neyaashiinigmiing water boiling has been in place since 2019, the bulletin said. . Claims must be made by March 7, 2023.

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