Evacuees from Neskantaga First Nation started returning home Monday after recent water testing showed chlorine and microbiological levels were at acceptable levels after a new pump was installed in the local water system. The previous piece of equipment malfunctioned earlier in September, triggering a state of emergency. About 220 residents were in Thunder Bay for more than a week after the pump went down on Sept. 14. Chief Chris Moonias called for the evacuation himself, concerned about symptoms he said were showing up in community members, including skin rashes, stomach problems and headaches.
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.
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.