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Water Today Title July 7, 2022

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Advisory of the Day



This story is brought to you in part by Proteus Waters

A remote mining outpost in Saskatchewan has had their water supply compromised by an outbreak of algae prompting a water advisory.

Seabee Gold Operation, owned by SSR Mining, is located about 125km northeast of the town of La Ronge in Northern Saskatchewan. They have two underground gold mines operating in the area: the Seabee mine, as well as the Santoy Mine.

The latter of the two was issued a Do Not Drink water advisory by Saskatchewan's Ministry of Environment on October 30 after their water treatment system tested positive for cyclotella algae.

"The source water for the Santoy Water Treatment Plant (WTP) is Lizard Lake," said Darby Semeniuk, Manager of Communication services for the Ministry of Environment in an email to this reporter, adding "This is likely the source of the algae."

Semeniuk was able to confirm that there have been no reported cases of illness as a result of the contamination. "The Santoy WTP is primarily used for laundry, showers and toilets. The second WTP is the Seabee WTP which provides the water for the main camp including the kitchen," he said.

The ministry has been informed that the site is working on finding solutions to the issue, and is using an alternate potable water source in the meantime.

Semeniuk could not give an approximate date of when the advisory will be lifted, saying that it will continue until the potable water quality has been determined to be safe.

Blair Gunter, Seabee Gold Operations Mining Manager told this reporter in a phone interview that the advisory is affecting anywhere from 170 to 200 people who might be on site at any given time.

"We posted signs everywhere and sent out an email to everybody," he said, "Just about everybody has email and if they don't the supervisors let their people know."

Gunter said that they plan to do some flushing of the treatment system this weekend and check in with the Ministry of Environment early next week to decide on next steps.

In the meantime, they are hauling up potable water from the Seabee Mine site, which sources its water from Laonil Lake. "Thankfully, nobody stays at the Santoy site," Gunter said, "It's just the miners and mechanics who're there (during working hours)."

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