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Associated presents at AFN 6th Annual Water Symposium

We're pleased to participate in the important dialogue taking place next week in Calgary on addressing water and wastewater topics affecting Indigenous communities across Canada. Several members of our staff will be presenting during the three-day symposium to share their expertise and experience in working together with First Nations to resolve clean water and sanitation issues. We invite attendees to join our speakers in the following sessions:

Wednesday, February 8

10:45 a.m
Workshop #6 – Closing the Infrastructure Gap with Sustainable Water & Wastewater Systems
Location: Exhibition Hall E (Plenary)
Presenter: Owen James

The AFN, in partnership with ISC, has co-developed a comprehensive cost report which is the first of its kind to quantify the capital and operating costs to “Close the Infrastructure Gap by 2030” for First Nations across Canada. Associated Engineering has provided supporting engineering services including development of long-term infrastructure needs, O&M requirements, and other investment needs such as climate adaptation and long-term improvements to water and wastewater servicing. The sustainability of water and wastewater system servicing is imperative in developing and maintaining public health for First Nations people. Solutions require careful planning in collaboration with First Nations to ensure communities have the capacity to address long-term operational and maintenance needs. Local capacity building is essential together with the ability to access expert support when required. This presentation will provide an overview of the pressures on water and wastewater systems and discuss considerations for improving the long-term sustainment of systems for First Nations across Canada.

1:30 p.m.
Workshop #14 – Unique Challenges of Remote, Northern Communities
Location: Mcleod C, South Side – Lower Level
Presenters: Freda Leong and Sarah Larlee

The Government of Nunavut operates numerous water treatment plants (WTP) throughout the territory. While each facility has individual challenges specific to their water quality, there are common concerns that are unique to the northern region of Canada, including freezing temperatures and isolated locations often only reachable by plane – and only on good weather days. However, perhaps the most important challenge is the design of practical facilities that can be operated and managed by Maintainers who are often required to perform many other tasks throughout the community. It is only when designs consider the time limitations that the Maintainers face that a sustainable solution is found. Through this presentation, the presenters will discuss a case study based on their work at a northern water treatment plant in Arviat, NU. The Arviat WTP is unable to remove organics through the existing process and finding a sustainable solution has been the focus of our work, including pilot testing and feasibility studies. They will discuss the importance of Operations and Maintenance considerations, and the need for it to be the driver for successful design.

Thursday, February 9

10:45 a.m.
Workshop #20 – Decentralized Water and Wastewater Systems –
Vital Considerations for the Wellbeing of a Community

Location: Mcleod D, South Side – Lower Level
Presenters: Abu Waraich and Hashanth Sasitharan

In recent years, a larger focus has been placed on removing boil water advisories. To eradicate boil water advisories completely from communities, all residents within the community must have access to safe and potable water. As over 70% of residents are on decentralized systems, consideration of the decentralized systems (i.e. cisterns and wells) is also required to ensure the water maintains its’ potable water quality all the way to the consumer (i.e. from source to tap). In addition, wastewater that is not properly disposed of by a compliant system can cause adverse health effects and environmental concerns. As a result, decentralized wastewater systems must also be considered as part of the overall water management objectives as they are also a crucial component on minimizing potential health and environmental concerns within the community.

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