Uranium City may finally get clean drinking water back after 20 years: auditor's report

·2 min read
Uranium City, Sask., has been under a precautionary drinking water advisory since May 2001 and a boil water advisory since February 2015. (Olivia Stefanovich/CBC - image credit)
Uranium City, Sask., has been under a precautionary drinking water advisory since May 2001 and a boil water advisory since February 2015. (Olivia Stefanovich/CBC - image credit)

Uranium City residents may soon be able to turn on their taps and have clean drinking water, something they haven't had in decades.

The Water Security Agency issued a precautionary drinking water advisory for the tiny northern community in May 2001 and an emergency boil water advisory in February 2015. Both those advisories are still in effect.

According to the latest provincial auditor's report, the province is in trying to secure $1.7 million in federal funding under the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program to fix the Uranium City water treatment plant.

"The advisories note the Uranium City water treatment plant lacks minimum water treatment processes, and there is inadequate disinfection residual in the distribution system with E.coli detected in the drinking water system," the report said.

The community's water distribution and sewer systems were upgraded in 2017.

Another northern settlement, Brabant Lake, has had water quality issues since 2018 because of Brabant Lake "equipment failure or damage."

The Brabant treatment facility is currently getting upgrades at an estimated cost of $1.5 million.

The federal government, on behalf of the Lac La Ronge Indian Band, is also helping fund upgrades to the Stanley Mission water supply, which has trihalomethane levels exceeding maximum allowable limits.

Trihalomethane is a chemical produced when organic material in lakes is mixed with chlorine that is used to purify water.

The Stanley Mission upgrade is about 80 per cent complete will will costs a total of $13.8 million. The province is providing about $1.1 million for that project.

More work needs to be done

While these upgrades are good news for these communities, the auditor's report said the province is still not consistently testing drinking water samples as required by its water system permits.

It also isn't always completing water system maintenance or properly supervising whether water system operators complete maintenance activities as expected.