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‘Alarmingly high’ fecal bacteria levels in First Nations water


October 24, 2016
By Ground Water Canada

Winnipeg – In a recently published University of Manitoba study, scientists found what they described as an “alarmingly high frequency” of fecal bacteria in drinking water sources at a fly-in First Nations community.

Approximately 20 per cent of the 600 First Nations reserves across Canada are under a drinking water advisory, often due to unacceptable levels of bacteria, suggests a study published Sept. 29 in the journal Science of the Total Environment. The study detected fecal bacteria at an alarmingly high frequency in drinking water sources in a fly-in First Nations community, most notably in buckets/drums of homes without running water where Escherichia coli levels ranged from 20 to 62,000 CFU/100 mL

The authors conclude First Nation residents living without running water and relying on inadequate water distribution systems are at higher risk of contracting water-born illnesses, and urge all governments in Canada to expand their investments in supporting and sustaining water as a human right in Canada’s First Nations communities.

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The study may be viewed here.