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Water Today Title June 29, 2022

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Asvisory of the Day



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A State of Emergency has been declared for the First Nations community of Eabametoong after a fire in a building beside their water purification plant resulted in contamination of the water supply on June 6th.

Area MP Bob Nault released a statement on his website saying, "The community has received 4000 litres of water from INAC's regional office and all potable water is being rationed and distributed from the school gymnasium."

He went on to mention that the Nishnawbe Aski Nation Police (NAPS) and the Fire Marshall's Office are involved in investigating the cause of the fire.

Health Canada informed us that the water advisory is a Do Not Consume. These are issued when the water system contains a contaminant that can't be removed from the water by boiling.

As such, the water is not safe for drinking, brushing teeth, washing fruits and vegetables or bathing infants or toddlers.

Water from a nearby lake is being pumped for non-potable uses like toilets.

In an email to this reporter, Health Canada said that they visited the community on June 8, 2017, to collect samples to verify that the water is free of contaminants and that they are expecting results from the lab during the week of June 19.

Once the samples confirm that the water is safe to consume, the Do Not Consume Advisory will be lifted by the First Nation leadership. Throughout the Do Not Consume Advisory, Health Canada has been working with Chief Atlookan, community technical advisors and other federal departments to ensure that bottled water is available in the community, including the nursing station, and that nursing services remain fully operational.

A boil water advisory (BWA) has been in place in the community since 2001 as well.

In the email referenced earlier, Health Canada told this reporter that it was put in place because of low residual chlorine throughout the distribution system and that it will remain in place after the Do Not Consume Advisory is lifted.

The community is working with their technical advisors at Matawa Tribal Council and is in discussions with Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada to make the necessary repairs to lift the BWA.

The First Nations Community of about 1000 residents is facing its second fire related disaster in as many years. In April of 2016, a blaze destroyed their decade old community centre.

Community leader, Chief Atlookan, did not comment by time of publishing.

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