The governments of Canada and Ontario are funding drinking water treatment improvements on the Pays Plat First Nation, and the construction of a new water treatment plant for the Biigtigong Nishnaabeg First Nation.
The Government of Canada is investing more than $3.7 million in these projects, and the Government of Ontario is contributing approximately $908,443 through the Green Infrastructure Stream of the Investing in Canada plan.
“Investments in public infrastructure like drinking water systems are vital to building healthy communities and supporting First Nations families,” Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health and Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay–Superior North. “These improvements to the water treatment plants in Pays Plat and the Biigtigong Nishnaabeg First Nations will ensure that residents have access to a stable supply of high-quality drinking water for many years to come, and come as part of our commitment to reconciliation with First Nations.”
Pays Plat will use the funding to replace outdated control systems at the water treatment plant. Chlorine dosing pumps with automatic switch-over capacity will also be installed, the drinking water reservoir and distribution valves cleaned, and the diesel fire pump motor replaced with an electrical motor to remove the risk of diesel contaminating the reservoir. In addition, new sand filters, low and high lift pumps, and distribution system valves will be installed.
These upgrades will improve the treatment and quality of drinking water, help prevent system failure and extend the life of the asset.
On the Biigtigong Nishnaabeg First Nation, the existing water treatment plant will be decommissioned and a new water treatment plant built, complete with an infiltration gallery, a low lift station with wet well and low lift pump chamber, and a below-grade reservoir. In addition, a new conventional water treatment system, high lift pumps, fire pumps and a new septic system will be installed.
The new water treatment plant will be easier to operate and monitor, and deliver high-quality water and better fire protection for community residents.
“I’m honoured to join Chief Mushquash, Chief Michano and our federal counterparts to announce our joint investment to improve water infrastructure in First Nations in Northern Ontario. With this over $900,000 investment, each of these communities can continue to grow while providing clean and safe water. Our government is proud to be able to support these projects for the people of Pays Plat First Nation and Biigtigong Nishnaabeg First Nation,” said Dave Smith, parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines and Indigenous Affairs, on behalf of Ontario’s Minister of Infrastructure, Laurie Scott.
“Biigtigong Nishnaabeg thanks both the federal and provincial governments for their contributions to our initiative to replace and upgrade our water system. This funding is a much needed initial phase in our project that will ensure we have a complete and functional water treatment system right from the source to the tap. Miigwetch,” said Duncan Michano, Chief of Biigtigong Nishnaabeg First Nation.