Fact Sheet - The Results of the National Assessment of First Nation Water and Wastewater Systems

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The results of the National Assessment of First Nation Water and Wastewater Systems, the most rigorous and comprehensive assessment of its kind ever conducted in Canada, have been provided to Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) by Neegan Burnside Ltd, the independent contractor responsible for conducting the assessment, and have now been made publicly available by the department. This fact sheet provides a synopsis of the key results of this unprecedented assessment, for the Atlantic provinces.

How do First Nations access water and dispose of wastewater?

First Nation communities receive their water through a variety of methods, with 72 per cent of all homes being piped, 13.5 per cent on truck delivery, 13 per cent serviced by individual wells and 1.5 per cent having no water service. A similar breakdown can be found for wastewater systems with 54 per cent of homes being piped, eight per cent having their sewage hauled by truck, 36 per cent having septic and other individual wastewater systems and two per cent of the homes having no service.

Summary of Atlantic Region Results

The National Assessment surveyed the water and wastewater systems of 33 First Nations in the Atlantic provinces.

Risk

Using AANDC's Risk Level Evaluation Guidelines, the contractor assigned a risk rating to each of the 35 water systems that it inspected: six are categorized as high overall risk, 19 as medium overall risk and 10 as low overall risk.

Of the 28 wastewater systems inspected, seven are categorized as high overall risk, 12 as medium overall risk and nine systems are categorized as low risk.

Cost

Having assessed the risk level of each system, the contractor identified the financial cost to meet AANDC's departmental protocols for safe water and wastewater. The total estimated cost for the Atlantic provinces systems is $42 million which includes, amongst other factors, the development of better management practices, improved operator training, increasing system capacity, and the construction of new infrastructure when required.

Growth

The contractor also projected the cost, over ten years, of ensuring that water and wastewater systems for First Nations are able to grow with First Nation communities.

Including the aforementioned $42 million to meet AANDC's current protocols for the Atlantic provinces water and wastewater systems, the contractor's projections for the cost of new servicing is $210 million.

Investments in Atlantic Region First Nation water and wastewater systems

In 2011-2012, AANDC is planning to invest in two water systems in the Atlantic provinces where the system had a high design risk and a high overall risk rating. An additional three projects are planned between 2012-2013 and 2015-2016.

The Government of Canada has made significant investments in water and wastewater infrastructure in First Nation communities. Between April 1, 2006 and March 31, 2010, AANDC invested approximately $36 million in water and wastewater infrastructure for First Nations in Atlantic Canada, including the following projects:




Summary of Quebec Results

The National Assessment surveyed the water and wastewater systems of 37 First Nations in Quebec.

Risk

Using AANDC's Risk Level Evaluation Guidelines, the contractor assigned a risk rating to each of the 39 water systems that it inspected: seven are categorized as high overall risk, 12 as medium overall risk and 20 as low overall risk.

Of the 39 wastewater systems inspected, seven are categorized as high overall risk, 26 as medium overall risk and six systems are categorized as low risk.

Cost

Having assessed the risk level of each system, the contractor identified the financial cost to meet AANDC's departmental protocols for safe water and wastewater. The total estimated cost for Quebec systems is $28 million which includes, amongst other factors, the development of better management practices, improved operator training, increasing system capacity, and the construction of new infrastructure when required.

Growth

The contractor also projected the cost, over 10 years, of ensuring that water and wastewater systems for First Nations are able to grow with First Nation communities. Including the aforementioned $28 million to meet AANDC's current protocols for Quebec water and wastewater systems, the contractor's projections for the cost of new servicing is $380 million.

Investments in Quebec First Nation water and wastewater systems

In 2011-2012, AANDC is planning to invest in two water systems in the Quebec where the system had a high design risk and a high overall risk rating. An additional two projects are planned for between 2012-2013 and 2015-2016.

The Government of Canada has made significant investments in water and wastewater infrastructure in First Nation communities. Between April 1, 2006 and March 31, 2010, AANDC invested approximately $113.7 million in water and wastewater infrastructure for First Nations in Quebec, including the following projects:




Summary of Ontario Results

The National Assessment surveyed the water and wastewater systems of 120 First Nations in Ontario.

Risk

Using AANDC's Risk Level Evaluation Guidelines, the contractor assigned a risk rating to each of the 158 water systems that it inspected: 72 are categorized as high overall risk, 61 as medium overall risk and 25 as low overall risk.

Of the 77 wastewater systems inspected, 28 are categorized as high overall risk, 38 as medium overall risk and 11 systems are categorized as low risk.

Cost

Having assessed the risk level of each system, the contractor identified the financial cost to meet AANDC's departmental protocols for safe water and wastewater. The total estimated cost for Ontario systems is $309 million which includes, amongst other factors, the development of better management practices, improved operator training, increasing system capacity, and the construction of new infrastructure when required.

Growth

The contractor also projected the cost, over ten years, of ensuring that water and wastewater systems for First Nations are able to grow with First Nation communities. Including the aforementioned $309 million to meet AANDC's current protocols for Ontario water and wastewater systems, the contractor's projections for the cost of new servicing is $1 billion.

Investments in Ontario First Nation water and wastewater systems

In 2010-2011, AANDC invested in two water systems in Ontario where the system had a high design risk and a high overall risk rating. One additional project is scheduled for 2011-2012 and another 12 projects are planned for between 2012-2013 and 2015-2016.

The Government of Canada has made significant investments in water and wastewater infrastructure in First Nation communities. Between April 1, 2006 and March 31, 2010, AANDC invested approximately $318.6 million in water and wastewater infrastructure for First Nations in Ontario. Major projects included:




Summary of Manitoba Results

The National Assessment surveyed the water and wastewater systems of 62 First Nations in Manitoba.

Risk

Using AANDC's Risk Level Evaluation Guidelines, the contractor assigned a risk rating to each of the 74 water systems that it inspected: 21 are categorized as high overall risk, 32 as medium overall risk and 21 as low overall risk.

Of the 61 wastewater systems inspected, six are categorized as high overall risk, 38 as medium overall risk and 17 systems were categorized as low risk. Water systems in remote communities are 2.5 times more likely to be high risk than low risk.

Cost

Having assessed the risk level of each system, the contractor identified the financial cost to meet AANDC's departmental protocols for safe water and wastewater. The total estimated cost for Manitoba systems is $82 million which includes, amongst other factors, the development of better management practices, improved operator training, increasing system capacity, and the construction of new infrastructure when required.

Growth

The contractor also projected the cost, over ten years, of ensuring that water and wastewater systems for First Nations are able to grow with First Nation communities. Including the aforementioned $82 million to meet AANDC's current protocols for Manitoba water and wastewater systems, the contractor's projections for the cost of new servicing is approximately $690 million.

Investments in Manitoba First Nation water and wastewater systems

Between 2012-2013 and 2015-2016, AANDC is planning to invest in nine water systems in Manitoba where the system had a high design risk and a high overall risk rating.

The Government of Canada has made significant investments in water and wastewater infrastructure in First Nation communities. Between April 1, 2006 and March 31, 2010, AANDC invested approximately $227 million in water and wastewater infrastructure for First Nations in Manitoba. Major projects included:




Summary of Saskatchewan Results

The National Assessment surveyed the water and wastewater systems of 69 First Nations in Saskatchewan.

Risk

Using AANDC's Risk Level Evaluation Guidelines, the contractor assigned a risk rating to each of the 103 water systems that it inspected: 27 are categorized as high overall risk, 47 as medium overall risk and 29 as low overall risk.

Of the 88 wastewater systems inspected, four are categorized as high overall risk, 44 as medium overall risk and 40 systems are categorized as low risk.

The operator risk scores are very low in Saskatchewan as a result of an aggressive and effective program that facilitates the certification of First Nations water and wastewater operators. This program is supported by an effective regional Circuit Rider Program.

Cost

Having assessed the risk level of each system, the contractor identified the financial cost to meet AANDC's departmental protocols for safe water and wastewater. The total estimated cost for Saskatchewan systems is $203 million which includes, amongst other factors, the development of better management practices, improved operator training, increasing system capacity, and the construction of new infrastructure when required.

Growth

The contractor also projected the cost, over ten years, of ensuring that water and wastewater systems for First Nations are able to grow with First Nation communities. Including the aforementioned $203 million to meet AANDC's current protocols for Saskatchewan water and wastewater systems, the contractor's projections for the cost of new servicing is $680 million.

Investments in Saskatchewan First Nation water and wastewater systems

In 2011-2012, AANDC is planning to invest in three water systems in Saskatchewan where the system had a high design risk and a high overall risk rating. An additional five projects are planned between 2012-2013 and 215-2016.

The Government of Canada has made significant investments in water and wastewater infrastructure in First Nation communities. Between April 1, 2006 and March 31, 2010, AANDC invested approximately $214.8 million in water and wastewater infrastructure for First Nations in Saskatchewan, including the following projects:




Summary of Alberta Results

The National Assessment surveyed the water and wastewater systems of 44 First Nations in Alberta.

Risk

Using AANDC's Risk Level Evaluation Guidelines, the contractor assigned a risk rating to each of the 82 water systems that it inspected: 21 are categorized as high overall risk, 48 as medium overall risk and 13 as low overall risk.

Of the 73 wastewater systems inspected, 12 are categorized as high overall risk, 44 as medium overall risk and 17 systems are categorized as low risk.

Cost

Having assessed the risk level of each system, the contractor identified the financial cost to meet AANDC's departmental protocols for safe water and wastewater. The total estimated cost for Alberta systems is $162 million which includes, amongst other factors, the development of better management practices, improved operator training, increasing system capacity, and the construction of new infrastructure when required.

Growth

The contractor also projected the cost, over ten years, of ensuring that water and wastewater systems for First Nations are able to grow with First Nation communities. Including the aforementioned $162 million to meet AANDC's current protocols for Alberta water and wastewater systems, the contractor's projections for the cost of new servicing is $800 million.

Investments in Alberta Region First Nation water and wastewater systems

AANDC is planning to invest in water systems in Alberta where the system had a high design risk and a high overall risk rating. Planning is underway to determine what projects will be initiated based on priorities identified in the assessment.

The Government of Canada has made significant investments in water and wastewater infrastructure in First Nation communities. Between April 1, 2006 and March 31, 2010, AANDC invested approximately $144.9 million in water and wastewater infrastructure for First Nations in Alberta, including the following projects:




Summary of British Columbia Results

The National Assessment surveyed the water and wastewater systems of 188 First Nations in British Columbia.

Risk

Using AANDC's Risk Level Evaluation Guidelines, the contractor assigned a risk rating to each of the water systems that it inspected: 154 are categorized as high overall risk, 52 as medium overall risk and 84 as low overall risk.

The majority of high risk systems serve a small population. Water systems in remote communities are 2.5 times more likely to be high risk than low risk. 42 per cent of the systems in BC are classified as small systems. Of the 153 wastewater systems inspected, 8 are categorized as high overall risk, 69 as medium overall risk and 76 systems are categorized as low risk.

It should be noted, there are considerably more First Nations and systems in BC than in other provinces. BC has 198 First Nations and 290 systems were reviewed for the National Assessment. Ontario, with the next largest numbers, has 121 First Nations and 158 systems were assessed.

Cost

Having assessed the risk level of each system, the contractor identified the financial cost to meet AANDC's departmental protocols for safe water and wastewater. The total estimated cost for BC systems is $324 million which includes, amongst other factors, the development of better management practices, improved operator training, increasing system capacity, and the construction of new infrastructure when required.

Growth

The contractor also projected the cost, over ten years, of ensuring that water and wastewater systems for First Nations are able to grow with First Nation communities. Including the aforementioned $324 million to meet AANDC's current protocols for BC water and wastewater systems, the contractor's projections for the cost of new servicing is $710 million.

Investments in BC First Nation Water and Wastewater Systems

In 2011-2012, AANDC is planning to invest in five water systems in BC where the system had a high design risk and a high overall risk rating. An additional 26 projects are planned between 2012-2013 and 2015-2016.

The Government of Canada has made significant investments in water and wastewater infrastructure in First Nation communities. Between April 1, 2006 and March 31, 2010, AANDC invested approximately $174.4 million in water and wastewater infrastructure for First Nations in British Columbia, including the following projects:

  • $1.7 million improvement to the Simpcw First Nation drinking water system, including the construction of a new water treatment plant;
  • $4.7 million upgrade to the Kwicksutaineuk First Nation water treatment plant facility, providing reliable drinking water to residents; and
  • $1.4 million investment in the construction of ultraviolet and chlorine disinfection system in the Iskut First Nation, enhancing the overall drinking water system in the community.



Summary of Yukon Region Results

The National Assessment surveyed the water and wastewater systems of 17 First Nations in the Yukon.

Risk

Using AANDC's Risk Level Evaluation Guidelines, the contractor assigned a risk rating to each of the 24 water systems that it inspected: six are categorized as high overall risk, five as medium overall risk and 13 as low overall risk.

Of the 11 wastewater systems inspected, one is categorized as medium overall risk and 10 systems are categorized as low risk.

Cost

Having assessed the risk level of each system, the contractor identified the financial cost to meet AANDC's departmental protocols for safe water and wastewater. The total estimated cost for Yukon systems is $11 million which includes, amongst other factors, the development of better management practices, improved operator training, increasing system capacity, and the construction of new infrastructure when required.

Growth

The contractor also projected the cost, over ten years, of ensuring that water and wastewater systems for First Nations are able to grow with First Nation communities. Including the aforementioned $11 million to meet AANDC's current protocols for Yukon water and wastewater systems, the contractor's projections for the cost of new servicing is $50 million

Investments in Yukon Region First Nation water and wastewater systems

In 2011-2013, AANDC is planning to invest in two water systems in the Yukon where the system had a high design risk and a high overall risk rating.

The Government of Canada has made significant investments in water and wastewater infrastructure in First Nation communities. Between April 1, 2006 and March 31, 2010, AANDC invested approximately $21.6 million in water and wastewater infrastructure for First Nations in Yukon Territory, including the following projects:
  • $7.36 million upgrade of the Taku River Tlingit (located on the border between BC and the Yukon) water treatment system including improvements to the old water treatment plant and the design and construction of a new one;
  • $4.27 million design and construction of a new water treatment plant in White River First Nation including the clean-up of contaminated soil and the protection of fresh water on the reserve; and
  • ongoing construction of a $3.2 million water treatment system, as well as operator training and a new truck for delivery, in Liard First Nation ensuring that the community has sustainable access to drinking water.

Date: July 14, 2011

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