Federal funding has been announced for drinking water treatment improvements in Pays Plat First Nation. Funding has also been announced for the construction of a new water treatment plant for Biigtigong Nishnaabeg First Nation.

“Investments in public infrastructure like drinking water systems are vital to building healthy communities and supporting First Nations families,” said 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.”​

The Government of Canada is investing more than $3.7 million in these projects. The Government of Ontario is contributing approximately $908,443 through the Green Infrastructure Stream of the Investing in Canada plan.

Pays Plat will use the funding to replace outdated control systems at the water treatment plant and install chlorine dosing pumps with automatic switch-over capacity. In addition to this, the drinking water reservoir and distribution valves will be cleaned and the diesel fire pump motor will be replaced with an electrical motor to remove the risk of diesel contaminating the reservoir. New sand filters, low and high lift pumps, and distribution system valves will also be installed.

These upgrades will improve the treatment and quality of drinking water, help prevent system failure, and extend the life of the asset.

“I would like to simply say thank you to all the people involved,” said Chief David Peter Mushquash of Pays Plat First Nation. “A blanket thank you so as to not miss anyone. The government people that our people talked to and the back and forth and planning and more discussions, that’s the way things got done, one less community with the boil water advisories. To our front-line people at the water treatment plant, thank you.”

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In Biigtigong Nishnaabeg First Nation, the existing water treatment plant will be decommissioned. In its place, a new water treatment plant will be 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 to this, 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. It will also deliver high-quality water and better fire protection for community residents.

“Biigtigong Nishnaabeg thanks both the federal and provincial governments for their contributions to our initiative to replace and upgrade our water system,” said Chief Duncan Michano of Biigtigong Nishnaabeg First Nation. “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.”

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