Advisory of the Day
STURGEON LAKE, SK: BWA LIFTED BUT NOTICES STILL POSTED 'JUST TO BE SAFE'
WaterToday visited the site of a long term BWA this weekend, enjoying a perfect summer day in Saskatchewan, on the water at one of the province’s best kept secrets.
Photo credit: Gillian Ward
Sturgeon Lake is a gem of a summer getaway, wonderful for camping, boating and fishing. The Sturgeon River feeds the narrow lake with a steady supply of fresh water, and flows right on through to join forces with the North Saskatchewan River near Prince Albert.
If it is windy, you can almost always find calm water here, being tucked in to the hills, enjoying the shelter of bordering pine trees, and its narrow, boomerang shape. If the east-west leg is rough, the north-south leg is usually calm, and so, the avid water sports types that launch from this place are rarely disappointed with a no-go weekend due to inclement weather.
The Sturgeon Lake First Nation encompasses the lake, with the main community centre located on the south shore area. The Cree community of 2500 plus members has approximately 1700 residing on the reserve. (INAC population data, Nov. 2009).
A Boil Water Advisory was issued to the First Nation on August 1, 2019, in part owing to a vacancy in the water utility.
WaterToday spoke with Prince Albert Grand Council Environmental Health Supervisor Moe Elrafihi. “Last Friday, the boil water advisory was lifted. The test results came back clear,” Elrafihi says.
The vacancy at the Sturgeon Lake Water Utility has been filled, so it is back to business as usual.
Sturgeon Lake Regional Park was created inside the boundaries of the reserve.
WaterToday spoke with the campground manager in charge of the water supply, Lee Chamberlain, who has been handling the water supply for the park for 23 years. “We pull from the well and chlorinate as the water fills up the storage tanks. We run two 1300-gallon tanks. On a busy day, I will turn these over twice. Prince Albert Health Region monitors our water tests. Results coming back says our water is suitable for human consumption. They tell us we are as safe water as Prince Albert,” explains Chamberlain.
“All the taps in the park come off the same supply; bathrooms, showers and the taps in the campgrounds. We used to pull water from the lake. We used a seven stage filter with twenty minute chlorine retention tube, but it got too expensive to run, with all the filters and we started having problems with algae. In 2013 we bored out the old well down to 44 feet. There is lots of water, we have no trouble keeping up with this system.”
Even with assurances that the water is fit, Chamberlain posts notices all over the park, just to be safe.
Sturgeon Lake celebrates 55 years as a Regional Park in 2020. August long weekend is the annual celebration event. The overflow camping is always full and cabin hospitality is stretched to the limits as young and old venture back for the popular beach volleyball tournament and movies on the beach Saturday; horseshoe tournament and fireworks on Sunday.
Dozens of local boats set anchors and light up the lake with navigation lights for the cherished annual fireworks display. If you want to pay a visit, management advises to book campsites on March 1 when the seasonal registration desk opens, (306) 747- 3331; or by email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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