Construction to upgrade Sandy Lake First Nation’s antiquated water and wastewater treatment plant will begin late next year.
Kenora MP Bob Nault announced the federal government is spending $9.2 million to fix the problem in the remote fly-in community of 2,600 that’s been on a boil-water advisory for 16 years.
The design phase of a treatment plant upgrading project started in October and with construction expected to begin in December 2019.
Sandy Lake is located 225 kilometres northeast of Red Lake and 600 kilometres northwest of Thunder Bay.
Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada imposed a deadline that the community must have clean drinking water by March 2020, but temporary repairs to the water treatment plant and distribution system are being made in order to lift the drinking water advisory by this December.
“The investment announced today will aid in design and construction upgrades, as well as an expansion of Sandy Lake First Nation’s existing water treatment plant,” said Nault in a Nov.14 news release. “This will have a significant positive effect on the health and well-being of the community and its members and also bring with it, new economic opportunities.”
The water filtration system to treat Sandy Lake’s surface water was built in 1991.
Currently, the plant does not meet federal or provincial standards.
According to a federal government assessment, the community’s treatment plant is outdated, requires numerous structural and mechanical fixes, and requires $5 million in upgrades and a total servicing cost estimate of almost $39 million over 30 years.