Drinking water has been purchased and trucked from Quesnel into the Lhoosk’uz Dené Nation for the past 20 years. (Lhoosk’uz Dene Nation photo)

Drinking water has been purchased and trucked from Quesnel into the Lhoosk’uz Dené Nation for the past 20 years. (Lhoosk’uz Dene Nation photo)

From bottled water to tap: Lhoosk’uz Dené Nation finds solution to water troubles

Community awaits new water treatment system

After two decades of relying on bottled water, members of a B.C. First Nation west of Quesnel will soon be able to drink water directly from the taps in their homes.

An approximate $600,000 packaged water treatment system is anticipated to be installed at the Lhoosk’uz Dené Nation this fall.

“This has been an important project that chief and council have been pushing for,” said band manager Brenda Thomas. “We’re all excited. For the past 20 years, we’ve never had potable water.”

READ MORE: B.C.’s rural water systems need work to be safe, auditor says

Plans to treat the water for the 40 to 55 members living on-reserve has been eyed since the late 2000s.

The community constructed two wells in 2008, after originally sourcing their water from a single, large-diameter shallow-dug well adjacent to Kluskus Creek in the years prior. The water source was susceptible to turbidity and bacterial contamination.

Due to their close proximity, however, to the community septic field and traditional burial grounds, members did not trust the new wells, which also had elevated levels of iron, as a source of drinking water. A water treatment plant at the time was identified as being too expensive and difficult to maintain and operate in the long-term.

Bottled water from Quesnel was brought in for all community members for drinking and food preparation.

It was not until nearly a decade later in 2017 that two new water supply wells located away from the community septic field and traditional burial grounds were drilled to provide safe and reliable drinking water.

Although the new wells had better quality water than the wells drilled in 2008, elevated levels of iron were still a problem. The water also exceeded acceptable drinking water guidelines for manganese after a new guideline value was established by Health Canada in May 2019.

READ MORE: Infants, young children shouldn’t drink Williams Lake tap water due to levels of manganese, city says

The new packaged water treatment system will be trucked into the community this fall, and provided by AWC Process Solutions in Langley.

The plan is to install the treatment system on a concrete slab located at the south side of Kluskus Creek, where it will be housed in a C-can container.

Tony Baptiste and Marcel Korkowski will the community’s water operators who will be provided with any necessary training on the water system before it goes online and begins disinfecting the water through UV light and chlorination, Thomas said.

Once it is up and running the wells from 2008 will be decommissioned.

Chief Liliane Squinas said the new water system will be the end of “a long journey” towards clean drinking water. Once the project is complete the community is hoping to have a community barbecue if COVID-19 restrictions on gatherings are lifted by then.

“The community members are excited. It’s been a long time coming and they’re just patiently waiting for the time that they can turn on the tap and drink out of it.”

Do you have a comment about this story? email:

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Drinking waterIndigenous

Just Posted

Lincoln Mckoen. (YouTube)
Anglican bishop of the central Interior resigns over sexual misconduct allegations

Lincoln Mckoen was elected as a bishop of the Territory of the People region last year

Nazko Chief Leah Stump (left) leads a march on Sidney Boyd’s birthday. The Quesnel man went missing 60 days ago. (Cassidy Dankochik Photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)
Family continues search for Quesnel man more than 60 days after he disappeared

Sidney Boyd was last seen in early April in downtown Quesnel

Quesnel Fire Department members put foam on a gold sedan on June 21. (Cassidy Dankochik Photo - Quesnel Cariboo Observer)
Car catches fire at South Quesnel business parking lot

A gold sedan was briefly engulfed at Hilltop Liquor before emergency crews extinguished it

Quesnel Search and Rescue are looking north of Dunkley for a missing 70-year-old man. (Google Maps)
Rescuers battling difficult terrain in search for missing Quesnel 70-year-old

Quesnel SAR president Bob Zimmerman said searchers are looking near Dunkley for the man

(File Photo)
Police watchdog clears 100 Mile RCMP of wrongdoing after man dies in Williams Lake shelter

The man had been in custody at 100 Mile RCMP detachment prior to being taken to Williams Lake

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Robin Sanford and her fiance Simon Park were married in an impromptu ceremony at Abbotsford Regional Hospital on June 16. (Submitted photo)
Mom dies day after witnessing daughter’s hospital wedding in Abbotsford

Nurses help arrange impromptu ceremony in 3 hours for bride and groom

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson with Premier John Horgan after the budget speech Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. home owner grant won’t be altered, despite expert advice

Tax break for residences worth up to $1.6 million too popular

B.C. conservation officer Sgt. Todd Hunter said a black bear is believed to have killed local livestock. (THE NEWS/files)
Black bear believed to have killed miniature donkey in Maple Ridge

Trap set for predator that has been killing livestock

Penticton mayor John Vassilaki and Minister of Housing David Eby have been battling over the Victory Church shelter and BC Housing projects in the city. (File photos)
Penticton heads to court over homeless shelter as BC Housing audit begins

The city was not satisfied with the response from Minister David Eby regarding the ongoing situation

People enjoy the sun at Woodbine Beach on June 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Tijana Martin
BC Hydro assures customers it has ‘more than enough’ power to weather the heatwave

Despite an increase of pressure on the Western grid, blackouts are not expected like in some U.S. states

Air Canada planes sit on the tarmac at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Pilots say no reason to continue quarantines for vaccinated international travellers

Prime minister says Canada still trying to limit number of incoming tourists

Val Litwin is the latest candidate to declare his bid for the B.C. Liberal leadership. (Litwin campaign video)
Political newcomer joins contest for B.C. Liberal leadership

Val Litwin a former B.C. Chamber of Commerce CEO

Golden Ears Mountains, captured in May 2021. (Black Press Media files)
2nd year of day passes required for entry into 5 provincial parks launches in B.C.

Pilot program seeks to protect the environment by addressing visitor surges amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Most Read