Northern Ontario First Nation declares state of emergency over water quality

EABAMETOONG FIRST NATION, Ont. — A First Nation in northern Ontario says it has declared a state of emergency over the quality of its water supply.

The chief of Eabametoong First Nation says the move comes after tests showed high levels of chemicals in the supply that are byproducts of treatment materials like chlorine interacting with naturally occurring compounds.

Chief Harvey Yesno says the results showed levels of trihalomethanes well above Health Canada safety standards and notes that they have been associated with cancer.

Eabametoong officials say they've been warning residents to avoid long showers and reduce the amount of time they use to wash dishes.

Residents in the community roughly 360 kilometres north of Thunder Bay, Ont., obtain drinking water separately from three stations in the community or use bottled water.

A spokeswoman with Indigenous Services Canada says a new water treatment plant that will provide clean drinking water is expected to start operating in August.

The community has been on a boil water advisory for almost two decades.

© 2019 The Canadian Press