OPINION: Troubled water: The slow drip of change in Attawapiskat is not and has never been enough – by Adrian Sutherland (Globe and Mail – July 30, 2020)


Adrian Sutherland is a singer, songwriter, recording artist, and the frontman and founder of roots-rock band Midnight Shine. He lives in Attawapiskat, on the remote coast of the James Bay.

It’s been one year since the water contamination crisis in my home community of Attawapiskat.

In July, 2019, the Attawapiskat Band Council notified residents that our tap water had tested positive for potentially harmful levels of trihalomethanes (THMs) and haloacetic acids (HAAs) – byproducts of the disinfection process created when chlorine interacts with high levels of organic materials.

We were told not to bathe in it, not to cook with it and not to inhale vapours from it. A state of emergency was declared. This is our tap water that flows into our houses. It’s important to note we do not drink from our taps – and never have.

Even when plumbing arrived in our homes in the late 1990s – it had first been brought to the community 20 years earlier, but only for teachers and hospital staff – even then, we weren’t able to drink tap water. We still don’t today.

Attawapiskat has a separate system specifically for drinking water that is filtered through a reverse-osmosis system and distributed through two watering stations. Community members use these stations to fill up jugs, and that is how we get water for drinking and cooking.

For the rest of this column: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-troubled-water-the-slow-drip-of-change-in-attawapiskat-is-not-and-has/?utm_medium=Referrer:+Social+Network+/+Media&utm_campaign=Shared+Web+Article+Links

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