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Stellat’en First Nation gets water treatment plant

Residents can drink tap water now
Stellat’en First Nation held a ribbon cutting ceremony for their new water plant on March 14. (Submitted photo)

After years of having to drink bottled water, Stellat’en First Nations community has a water treatment plant now.

Stellat’en First Nations Chief Archie Patrick said they were hoping for the water treatment plant 10 years ago. He said they had found enough arsenic in their tap water nearly 20 years ago, which if used for a long period of time would cause detrimental effects.

“We could not drink the water straight from the tap. We could bathe with it and wash dishes with it, but that was basically it. If we needed to drink it, we had bottled water instead,” Patrick said.

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Indigenous Services Canada provided bottled water to the community, he said, noting the community had enough for their needs.

“We had enough for our needs. It just took a while to get it all balanced out. To find out how much drinking water you need and how much you need for washing and that thing,” Patrick said.

The total cost of the water treatment plant is approximately $3.5 million, he said

Patrick said the conversation around getting a water treatment plant in the community started five years ago. As the years progressed more was added to the plans and Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, started putting money aside in anticipation for the building, he added.

The construction of the building started last summer. An engineering company from Vancouver designed the plant and the contract for building it was given to a company in Quesnel.

“We thank the government of Canada for the resources to do it [build the water treatment plant] and we are very grateful that we are now able to drink our water straight out of the tap,” Patrick added.

Aman Parhar
Editor, Vanderhoof Omineca Express

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(Submitted photo)