NEMASKA ENVIRONMENTAL PROFILE

Prepared by: Matthew Tanoush, LEA

DRINKING WATER AND DISTRIBUTION

Nemaska is a young community established in 1977. There are presently 125 Band Housing units which have water service connections from the pumphouse. Our pumphouse is located east of our community and was built when the first eight houses were built in 1979-80. The community receives its water supply from an underground well and plans are to install an additional well so that the existing well can serve as a backup. Our potable drinking water is not treated, but the chlorine is there should we need it. As the community grew, a reservoir was built to meet the consumption demands of members of the Nemaska First Nation, and as the years progressed, the water reservoir was expanded to provide adequate fire protection capacity.

WASTEWATER TREATMENT

The Nemaska wastewater collection and treatment system was built in three phases. Phase 1 was construction of a gravity sewer and force mains in 1999. Phase 2 was the construction of collection and infrastructure pipes in 2000. Phase 3 was construction and operation of a lagoon in November 2001. This major project went through the environmental and review process under Section 22 of the JBNQA.

SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT

Under the supervision of the Maintenance Department, the solid waste management is collected three times per week and hazardous materials like batteries or waste-oil are arranged with the Cree Construction Company located near Camp Nemiscau.

ENVIRONMENTAL EMERGENCY PLAN

At the local level, we haven't set up the environmental emergency response plan under the LEA's Code of Practice but we do have phone numbers of people to contact in the case of an environmental emergency. The Nemaska First Nation under the supervision of the Public Safety Department has an Emergency Preparedness Plan and each department has a role to play.

COMMUNITY-BASED ENVIRONMENTAL PROGRAMS & PROJECTS

We received some funding from Environment Canada for a two-year project on Bats and Birds. This project was in response to a bat infestation in one of our Band housing units We were told that bats in our region were endangered species, which resulted in the development of a conservation and educational awareness program involving secondary students from selected classrooms. With the funds available, the students were able to build bat and bird houses. One of the components that captures my attention after doing this research on bats is that when bats hunt in the night, they are capable of eating more than their body weight. In fact, they can consume 600 insects in one hour, that is 100 insects in 10 minutes! Bats definitely have a valuable purpose in our ecosystem.

ASPECTS OF THE NATURAL ENVIRONMENT THAT MAKE OUR COMMUNITY UNIQUE

Nemaska has had to deal with several close calls with forest fires, most recently in July of 2002 when he entire community was evacuated. Forest fires also forced the evacuation of our community in 1982 and 2001.We could say our community is unique because of the preservation of trees surrounding our community and within the community. Many visitors that come to Nemaska comment on how beautiful the trees are. We plan to do more landscaping in the future and pave roads in the residential areas.