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The Globe and Mail

Ottawa promises new treatment plant for reserve plagued by brown water

The federal government is promising to build a new treatment plant at a First Nation in Cape Breton, where residents say their tap water is brown, thick and often smells.

Valerie Hache, a spokeswoman with Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, said in an email that design work on the plant at the Potlotek reserve is due to begin soon but offered no specifics on when it would be completed.

She said the system will remove iron and manganese from the water, which are causing the discolouration in Potlotek and have been recorded at levels that exceed the Canadian drinking water guidelines.

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Community members and the band council were meeting with officials from Northern Affairs and Health Canada to discuss the long-standing problem and possible interim solutions.

Northern Affairs says it has been providing bottled water to the community since last month and has arranged for people to shower at facilities nearby.

Band councillor Jocelyn Marshall has said most people are not drinking the water, or even bathing in it.

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