The community of Chelsea, Que., has received a long-awaited green light to build a new water treatment plant.

Chelsea Water Quality

A sign asking people not to drink from a drinking fountain is posted in Chelsea, Que. (CBC)

A news release from the municipality on Thursday afternoon said Quebec’s municipal affairs ministry told them they can start building the plant after "several decades" of pollution issues.

Chelsea residents have long complained about poor water quality from deteriorating septic systems across the community, leading up to a protest in Gatineau earlier this week.

Some said they could not drink their water and they couldn’t wash their floors or water plants.

The news release said final approval of the plant was delayed because of complaints in 2012 about a referendum held on the project.

"While we were confident that the referendum process respected the law, we understand that the (municipal affairs ministry) and the (elections officer) were obliged to respond to these complaints,” said Chelsea Mayor Carol Green in the news release.

“We are very pleased with this decision as we can now begin work on these essential services for our residents and businesses.”

About $5.3 million of the $23 million project is covered by various grants, according to the release.

Residents and businesses will be notified when construction details are finalized.

The approval means a planned housing development can finally move forward. Carrie Wallace and Sean McAdam plan to soon start building 250 single-family homes on 40 hectares of Chelsea farmland.

Nearly 30 of the homes have already been sold.

"We've been waiting for two years now for Chelsea to get the OK from the ministry. So now we can finally look forward to getting our new home with our baby on the way," said resident Stephane Rolland.