Lebret and Star Blanket Cree Nation Unveil New $3.3M Wastewater Treatment Facility

Two southern Saskatchewan communities officially cut the ribbon on Tuesday for a new $3.3 million wastewater treatment facility that is touted as eco-responsible and award-winning.

The facility will serve businesses and approximately 300 people in Lebret, and another 126 people in Wa-Pii Moos-Toosis on Star Blanket Cree Nation, according to a statement.

It includes tools capable of treating near-freezing wastewater and removing ammonia, and has also installed a new force main and lift station.

The facility became fully operational in November 2021, with construction beginning in fall 2020.

Water tested at the $3.3 million treatment plant in Lebret, Saskatchewan. (Richard Agecoutay/CBC)

The area’s old water treatment infrastructure worked well in the summer but poorly in the winter, said Lebret Mayor Lloyd Virag, who called the new facility a « drastic improvement ».

« When you think about what’s happened over the last 50 and 100 years, [there’s] very little thought about what we do in the environment, in the air and in our water,” he said.

« It’s very important that we find ways to treat wastewater and make it less harmful to the environment, and our process will actually help lakes, streams and rivers become more purified. »

About half of the project was funded through the federal government’s New Building Canada Fund, which funds projects in communities with populations under 100,000, alongside the provincial government. Each provides $860,666 for a total of $1.72 million.

“Having this facility is going to improve the quality of life for many First Nations because many of our First Nations do not have good quality drinking water,” said Cathrine Stonechild, a councilor for the Starblanket Cree Nation. responsible for the health and social development portfolio. « It’s going to be important for future generations. »

cathrine stonechild starblanket
Starblanket Cree Nation Councilor Cathrine Stonechild said it was important to take care of the environment and future generations. (Richard Agecoutay/CBC News)

In July, the Calling Lakes Ecomuseum presented a water award to communities for achieving five United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, according to a statement from the communities.

“Quality wastewater treatment infrastructure contributes to the health of our communities and our environment,” said Dominic LeBlanc, federal Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities, in a press release.


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