La Ronge to prioritize water treatment plant upgrades

Mayor wants to avoid water issues down the road

La Ronge water treatment plant (file photo)

La Ronge Mayor Colin Ratushniak said the municipality is prioritizing water treatment upgrades over the next two years to maintain drinking water quality in the town.

“If we look at our wastewater treatment plants, I think that we’re at a point where we need a full replacement of that. We need to look into infrastructure for that, because water is a necessity to human life and it’s something that it’s something that we don’t want to be playing with,” Ratushniak said.

“It’s something that we really need to take seriously in the next two years in short term planning so that we don’t run into any issues. There’s already things that are that we’ve motioned into play to try to focus on that. And of course, that is a regional issue that we have here in the north.”

A one-day precautionary drinking water advisory was announced for La Ronge on May 5 for a water line repair and the safety of the town’s drinking water supply could not be ensured at all times.

Drinking water advisories have been an ongoing issue in the region and Ratushniak wants to act quickly before La Ronge starts to have more serious problems.

Mechanical issues with the water treatment plant on the Fond du Lac Denesuline First Nation last year resulted in a boil water advisory — the First Nation declared a state of emergency after it detected its first case of COVID-19.

The nearby Lac La Ronge Indian Band community of Stanley Mission announced a short-term drinking water advisory on May 4 that remains in place until May 16.

There will be no water supply on May 11 between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. with the schedule subject to change. The Prince Albert Grand Council advised all water meant for drinking should be boiled for at least one minute and stored in a sanitized container.

Water should be boiled for brushing teeth, washing fruit and vegetables, making ice cubes or when added to food and drinks.

“With the way that the lines are set up, there is potential that we didn’t know where all of the shutoff valves were — which meant that we might have had to issue different water advisories. That’s something that we don’t want to have to do in the future because, water advisories in 2021. Like, that’s ridiculous,” Ratushniak said.

“So those are the things that we need to start spending money on so that we don’t have to run into issues going down the road. There isn’t any issue with our level of our water delivery or anything like that. It’s just something that we’re aware of that it’s something that needs to be addressed sooner than later.”