WEMINDJI ENVIRONMENTAL PROFILE

Prepared by: Johnny Mark, LEA

DRINKING WATER SOURCE

Drinking water for the community of Wemindji is pumped from a well located on the north side of the community, to the reservoir, which is on the western edge of town. The reservoir was up-graded recently to meet the needs of the growing population, as well as for fire protection purposes.

DRINKING WATER TREATMENT AND DISTRIBUTION

The water distribution network is a loop system to prevent freezing. There is no treatment for bacteriological organisms, however there is treatment for uranium. Water analysis is done locally and the results are sent to the Ministry of the Environment, the CRA and to the Public Health Division of the Cree Health Board. Physio-chemical samples are sent to an accredited laboratory for analysis.

WASTEWATER TREATMENT

Since the early 1980s, wastewater treatment was through an anaerobic process. The sludge was pumped from a lift station to two lagoons located about 1.5 km west of the community. During high water levels (spring & fall), the outflow of the lagoons would be released. This summer (2002), wastewater treatment was up-graded to an aerated system. The aerated lagoon system will be completed and become fully operational next summer.

SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT

The dumpsite is located about 2km to the northeast of the community. Since this site has been full since 1996, weve had to resort to open pit burning of domestic waste. Although approval for an in-trench waste disposal was issued in 1999, the dump site was never opened due to reservations for land-use, mainly of a traditional nature. However, this site will be opened with the condition that only ashes from the incineration of domestic waste be disposed off at this site. The Incinerator Project will be in operation in the winter of 2003. As this will be a new innovation in solid waste management, there will have to be an educational program to compliment the maintenance program of the incinerator, as well as recycling, reuse and reduce programs. The clinic manages its own bio-medical waste.

COMMUNITY-BASED ENVIRONMENTAL PROGRAMS & PROJECTS

Most families collect their recyclable cans and take them to the community store for a refund. Some people go around the community to pick up tin cans and some grab some along the way while at their health walk.