Sewage spills prompt water inspection in N. Ontario community

Ottawa will send an inspector to a northern Ontario community Wednesday after local leaders complained of months of sewage spills into the river that supplies water.

Ottawa will send an inspector to Marten Falls First Nation Wednesday after local leaders complained that sewage has been spillingfor months into the river that supplies the northern Ontario community's water.

The water pump in Marten Falls has had problems since July and sewage has been leaking periodically into the Albany River.

Marten Falls Chief Eli Moonias believes a power surge during a summer storm may have damaged electrical equipment in a sewage lift station.

The Indian and NorthernAffairs Department has spent roughly $9,000 to provide the community with bottled water.

The community has also been under a boil water advisory since the spring because of other problems at a water treatment plant, said James Adams, Health Canada's director of the Thunder Bayzone.

"Our health staff are on the guard to see if there is any case of gastro-intestinal illness, which there hasn't been," he said.

Moonias says the government isn't treating the problem with enough urgency.

"Everybody seems to think that it's OK to go the long way of fixing this problem, but we think that's not good enough," he said.

"We're not dealing with an ordinary situation here. There's a danger that the water system might be contaminated."

When first contacted by the CBC on Tuesday, a spokesperson with Indian and Northern Affairs said the department was waiting to receive an official request for funding from the First Nation.

However, hours after that call, the government announced it would send a technical adviser to Marten Falls on Wednesday to determine what needs to be fixed and how much it will cost.