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Feds serve up $14.6 million for First Nation water treatment plant

Construction finished on plant to serve Lake Superior-area community
Batchewana Obajiwan sign
(Batchewana First Nation photo)

Construction has been completed of a new water treatment on Lake Superior serving a northeastern Ontario First Nation community.

With the connection to homes being made for members of Batchewana First Nation, Sault Ste. Marie MP Terry Sheehan delivered the news in an Aug. 24 release that Ottawa is coming to the table with $14.6 million for the facility’s feasibility, design and construction.

Construction on the project, dubbed the Chi We Kwe Don Water Treatment Plant, began in November 2020 and finished last March.

The facility provides clean drinking water to serve the members of Goulais Mission, north of Sault Ste. Marie, and 10 point-of-entry water systems for the Obajiwan community.

According to the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada, a 419-square-metre building was erected on the shores of the lake at the end of Goulais Mission Road. An intake pipe extends into Lake Superior to serve a subdivision that was being built. Piping was also installed along the Goulais Mission main road and onto Coulis Road. The plant will be served by electricity with an emergency backup generator located on site.

The release from Sheehan’s office said work on the point-of-entry systems will be finished by fall.

The plant was built to met the “20-year potable water needs of the community,” whose members had been using well water containing elevated levels of uranium.

“I would like to thank Chief Sayers, and Council for their advocacy and our work together for the Chi We Kwe Don Water Treatment Plant,” said Sheehan in the release.

“I was pleased to work with our government on behalf of Batchewana on a Nation-to-Nation process for this much needed funding. Our government remains committed to ending water advisories, working with Indigenous Nations to progress and resolve health care issues, and work to establish infrastructure that will last decades and beyond.”