People in Attawapiskat continue to speak out about their water problems with some high-profile visitors this week. Attawapiskat's Chief and Council declared a state of emergency more than a week ago when water tests came back with higher-than accepted levels of trihalomethanes. Exposure to trihalomethanes can be connected to an increased risk of bladder and possibly colon cancer in people who drank chlorinated water for 35 years or more.
Eabametoong First Nation, an Ojibway community that sits about 360 kilometres north of Thunder Bay, passed a band council resolution declaring a state of emergency Friday after water test results showed levels of trihalomethanes (THMs) between 122 to 182 per cent above Health Canada safety standards. Yesno said residents are also reporting a foul smell coming from the community's tap water.
Since Salt Spring Island's only public laundry facility closed in 2016, resident Cherie Geavreau has wanted to open a new one, but there's a big obstacle in the way. The local authority that regulates and distributes the island's water has placed a moratorium on water usage, and hasn't yet decided whether to allow the larger water pipe that Geavreau needs to run the laundromat efficiently.
Patients and staff at Salt Spring Island's sole hospital are still relying on bottled water, months after legionella bacteria was detected in the facility's water system. Island Health advised against using the water at Lady Minto Hospital for drinking or bathing in March, when routine testing showed low levels of the bacteria were present.
During an emotional community meeting Tuesday evening, residents of a northern Ontario First Nation grappling with water problems demanded their chief and council ask the Canadian military to step in. Attawapiskat Band Coun. Rosie Koostachin said community members passed a resolution at the meeting calling on their band council to request Ottawa bring in the Canadian Armed Forces' Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) to provide clean water.
A non-profit group is working with a First Nation community in northeastern Ontario to become citizen scientists. Swim Drink Fish, with funding from Environment Canada, is continuing to set up citizen science water monitoring hubs. The group is now working with Zhiibaahaasing First Nation, located at the western end of Manitoulin Island on the northshore of Lake Huron. "We're trying to build a community of people around the Great Lakes who are working for swimmable, drinkable and fishable water," Mark Mattson, president of Swim Drink Fish said.
Less than two years after switching Saint John's west side to a new drinking water system, the city is now diverting many of those same neighbourhoods to a new water source. The areas affected include Saint John's lower west side, Milford, Randolph, Fundy Heights, Duck Cove and Sand Cove. They are to begin receiving surface water from the Loch Lomond Treatment plant on the city's east side by the end of the year. At the same time the city has cancelled its contract with the engineering firm that was instrumental in the creation of the west side well field water system and hired a law firm to pursue the company, BGC Engineering, for costs.
An Indigenous-led group plans to offer to buy a majority stake in the Trans Mountain oil pipeline from the Canadian government this week or next, a deal that could help Prime Minister Justin Trudeau mitigate election-year criticism from environmentalists. The group, called Project Reconciliation, aims to submit the $6.9 billion offer as early as Friday, managing director Stephen Mason told Reuters, and start negotiations with Ottawa two weeks later. Project Reconciliation said the investment will alleviate First Nations poverty, a watershed for Indigenous people who have historically watched Canada’s resources enrich others.
The union that represents more than 100 workers at Saskatoon's water and wastewater treatment plants have turned down an offer from the city. Earlier this week, workers in Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 47 voted 93 per cent against the city's latest offer. The union has been without a contract since January 2017.
Rising water levels in the St. Lawrence Seaway could cost the economy more than $1 billion, shippers and port operators say. A new study from the Chamber of Marine Commerce warns that opening the floodgates further at a dam in Cornwall, Ont., would wash away between $1 billion and $1.75 billion in revenue for businesses on both sides of the border. A board of control recently increased the flow at the Moses Saunders Dam — the only control point on the St. Lawrence Seaway, which includes the Great Lakes — to allow 10,400 cubic metres of water per second out of Lake Ontario.
It is becoming an increasingly common story - Another city is running out of drinking water. Chennai, India, the country's sixth-largest metropolis with 4.65 million people, is facing a dire water shortage. The coastal metropolis is the world's first major city to be facing a severe water shortage, but several large cities around the world may soon face a similar crisis. The four reservoirs supplying the region have dried up, leaving small potholes filled with muddy stagnant puddles of dirty water.
The company responsible for cleaning up a defunct natural gas field near Fort Liard, N.W.T., says it will apply for a water licence after the territory's environmental regulator found chloride from the site is causing damage to the surrounding environment. In a June 5 letter to Paramount Resources, Environment and Natural Resources water resource officer Sonja Martin-Elson said that an inspection conducted last summer at the shuttered Pointed Mountain site found the company was in violation of the territory's Waters Act.
Environment and Climate Change Canada has issued hefty fines to the University of British Columbia and CIMCO Refrigeration for releasing ammonia-laden water into a tributary of the Fraser River in Vancouver. According to a written statement, UBC was fined $1.2 million and CIMCO $800,000 stemming from a complaint about an ammonia odour at an outfall ditch connected to Booming Ground Creek in Pacific Spirit Regional Park on Sept. 12, 2014. The ministry says UBC and CIMCO were fixing the refrigeration system at Thunderbird Arena at the university's Vancouver campus when they purged residual ammonia vapours from the system into a storm drain that flowed into a ditch and then the creek.
Planning on attending Osheaga in Montreal this summer? Bring along a reusable water bottle and fill it up as often as you'd like — for free. You can do that now thanks to a local marine biologist and her determination to keep plastic out of the oceans. This summer, Rachel Labbé-Bellas is unveiling her new water-refill stations at the summer festival — water-refill stations she's dubbed The Green Stop, designed to discourage people from using single-use plastic bottles and inspire environmental awareness.
A Calgary mom was unnerved to find out she and her two young children may have been drinking and bathing in lead-contaminated water at their home for the past year — and hundreds of other Calgarians are in the same boat. "It's just unnerving that we've been there for a year and that we could have been drinking lead water for the last year. There's a bit of a panic," she said, adding the situation feels out of her control because the rents the house, which is in Hillhurst.
As an insurer, Intact obviously has its own data and maps. Based on that, the company assumes as many as five per cent of those newly at-risk properties will be simply uninsurable. Brindamour warns that "if you're in a zone that gets flooded repeatedly, or where the odds of being flooded has increased meaningfully, it'll be hard to find insurance from private capital."
Water in Metro Vancouver might seem like a limitless resource, but it's time for that notion to go down the drain. When it comes to home water use — for drinking, bathing, toilet flushing and more — Metro Vancouver is a pretty thirsty place. Residential water use in Metro Vancouver is 270 litres per capita per day. That's less than the City of Montreal's 286 litres per capita per day, but more than Toronto's 219 per day or the 210 per day used by residents of Calgary. So how do the thirsty residents of Metro Vancouver use all that wet stuff?
Some people in Kingston, Ont., were asked to conserve water after a pipe broke Thursday at the River Street Pumping Station, flooding it with sewage. It's expected to be back to normal Friday morning. Utilities Kingston said residents should also take steps to protect their basements from flooding. "We are appealing to the public to conserve water and reduce sewer use to help reduce overflows and protect the environment," said president and CEO of Utilities Kingston president and CEO Jim Keech. Keech said Thursday afternoon they still didn't know what caused the pipe to break.
Vancouver is known for rain and snow-capped mountains, both of which supply the city's water reservoirs. But as climate change continues to alter weather patterns and reduce rainfall, the supply will dwindle and Uytae Lee is thirsty for action to be taken now. Metro Vancouver is also predicting another one million people will arrive in the region by 2050 and predicts a water "supply gap" by 2030.
The study found that a person's average microplastic consumption — based on those food items previously analyzed — would likely be somewhere between 70,000 and 121,000 particles per year. While younger girls were at the lower end of the spectrum, adult men were at the high end. People who consume a lot of bottled water could see that number jump by up to 100,000 particles per year.
Fifty-five metal barrels, left for decades to deteriorate at the bottom of the Humber Canal, are seeing the light of day this week as Corner Brook Pulp and Paper undertakes a big cleanup. The debris predates the mill's current ownership under Kruger, but the company estimates they've been decaying since about the 1950s, although their presence went undetected until residents raised red flags two years ago. The 11-kilometre canal supplies the Deer Lake Powerhouse, which in turn generates electricity for the mill, and also does double duty as the town of Deer Lake's water supply.
The taps to Winnipeg's drinking water were first turned on in April 1919, but as the city celebrated its engineering feat and raised glasses of that clear liquid, another community's fortunes suddenly turned dark. Construction of a new aqueduct plunged Shoal Lake 40 into a forced isolation that it is only now emerging from, 100 years after Winnipeg's politicians locked their sights on the water that cradles the First Nation at the Manitoba–Ontario border. "The price that our community has paid for one community to benefit from that resource, it's just mind-boggling," said Shoal Lake 40 Chief Erwin Redsky.
As of Wednesday morning, water levels on Lake Ontario at Cobourg exceeded those seen in the historic 2017 flood. According to Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the water level at Cobourg is 75.92 metres above sea level. At its highest in 2017, the level was 75.88 metres above sea level. “We’re approximately 40 centimetres above normal,” Cobourg Mayor John Henderson said. “With the rain we got this week, I expect that 40 centimetres will be higher, approaching 60 centimetres.”
Wildfire season is getting longer in Alberta every year with climate change, scorching land and polluting the air with thick smoke. But, the City of Calgary is studying another, perhaps less obvious, impact of wildfires — drinking water contamination. There haven't been any major fires in the Bow and Elbow river watersheds, upstream of the City of Calgary, for years. But, there are fears a major fire west of the city could wash burned material into the rivers, impacting the drinking water supply for the city's 1.4 million residents.
Some Calgary business owners are teaming up to help flood victims in the Ottawa-Gatineau region. "Absolutely not kidding. Brought a tear to my eye, absolutely devastating," is how Terry Rawn describes the situation in Rhoddy's Bay, outside of Ottawa. The region has been hit hard by spring flooding in the Ottawa valley — more than 5,000 homes flooded last month.
Nova Scotians with private wells are encouraged to test their drinking water regularly and treat it when needed to protect themselves from consuming too much manganese. Manganese is a mineral that is beneficial in the growth of healthy bone and tissue, but too much of it can cause damage.
Dozens of people in the Township of Whitewater Region have been forced from their homes as water levels on the Ottawa River peaked this weekend. The Renfrew County, Ont., township is about 140 kilometres northwest of downtown Ottawa, and includes nearly 90 kilometres of shoreline. About 100 homes have been affected by flooding, Mayor Michael Moore said Sunday.
Residents of a small Saskatchewan town can drink the water coming out of their taps for the first time in nearly nine years thanks to a new water treatment plant. Craik, population 400, has been facing a boil water advisory since August 2010, when the province found its old plant didn’t meet minimum disinfection standards. “Sometimes it was yellow and sometimes it was brown and sometimes there was dirt in it,” one resident recalled.
Over a thousand people poured into the streets of downtown Winnipeg Friday to bring attention to the dozens of First Nations across Canada currently under boil water advisories. Roughly 1,100 people, including more than 800 students from the Seven Oaks School Division, took part, organizers estimate. Carrying signs, the demonstrators walked from city hall down Main Street to Portage Avenue, and then up Memorial Boulevard, before ending at the Manitoba Legislative Building.
Even as floodwaters across the region stabilize, health officials are warning people living in flood zones — particularly those who get water from wells — to remain vigilant. Hundreds of homes have been damaged by the devastating floods that have washed through eastern Ontario and western Quebec, forcing residents and volunteers to spend days filling and loading up sandbags to protect their communities.