Thunder Bay

Feds announce 18 First Nations wastewater, drinking water upgrades

Projects include new wells, repairs to existing systems, training, as well as designing and building new water treatment plants.

$34.7 million committed as part of Liberal's 2016 budget promises

Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett studies water samples in Neskantaga First Nation. The community has been under a boil water advisory for 22 years. (Jody Porter/CBC)

The federal government says 18 northern Ontario First Nations are getting upgrades to water and wastewater infrastructure.

In a statement released Tuesday, the Ministry of Indigenous Affairs said $34.7 million in new projects are underway.

The goal is ending long-term drinking water advisories, and the projects include new wells, repairs to existing systems, training, as well as designing and building new water treatment plants.

"Here we have 18 projects across northwestern Ontario that will address long-term drinking water advisories and alleviate them," said Don Rusnak, MP for Thunder Bay-Rainy River.

"There's everything from design and feasibility to construction, right through training programs for the operators," he said.

"So, everything from the conception to the water coming out of the end of the tap, nice and clean."

Today's announcement is part of the $1.8 billion for First Nations water and wastewater infrastructure the government promised as part of its 2016 budget.

According to a government website, there are currently 81 drinking water advisories spread across Ontario, with the majority affecting First Nations communities.

"No community in Canada should be without clean and fresh drinking water, and safe drinking water," Rusnak said.

"This goes a long way to make sure that the communities that are only a few hours away from Thunder Bay, Atikokan and Fort Frances have the same reliable and clean drinking water."

According to Rusnak's statement, the following communities will have projects underway:

  • Animakee Wa Zhing No.37
  • Animbiigoo Zaagi'igan Anishinaabek
  • Biigtigong Nishnaabeg
  • Kashechewan
  • Keewaytinook Okimakanak (Sioux Lookout Area Centralize Hub)
  • Marten Falls
  • Muskrat Dam Lake
  • Naicatchewenin
  • Neskantaga First Nation
  • Nigigoonsiminikaaning First Nation
  • North Spirit Lake
  • Northwest Angle No.33
  • Obashkaandagaang
  • Sandy Lake
  • Shoal Lake No.40
  • Slate Falls Nation
  • Wabauskang First Nation 
  • Webequie

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