Two Water Plant Operator training courses to start in August

Two very interesting training courses are coming to the KO Water Plant Operator Training Centre.  

The first course starts August 22 and is a two day leak detection course with CEU’s value. For more information about this course visit

A two day Confined Space course is being offered Sept. 13-14 with the M.H.S.A. featuring their specially designed training trailer. Check out the course description at

Please see our web site for links and info at and visit for a listing of all the available courses being offered at the centre.


Article about INAC's Safe Water Panel from Saskatchewan hearings ....

Sask. reserves offer example for safe water - Federal panel praises improvements in quality
Zak Markan - The StarPhoenix - Thursday, July 27, 2006

Efforts made by Saskatchewan aboriginal people to make water management and consumption safer on reserves have impressed a federal panel studying First Nations water issues.

"There's been some very good presentations today, very much from the front-line folks," said Harry Swain, chair of the independent panel that will advise the federal government on improving poor-quality water on First Nations reserves.

Swain and fellow panellists Steve Hrudey and Grand Chief Stan Louttit were holding an informal consultation at the Radisson Hotel in Saskatoon Wednesday and Thursday. The panel has been travelling across the country for more than a month, talking with aboriginal health experts, water technicians and First Nations politicians about ways to deal with the poor treatment facilities and water management on reserves.

The panel was chosen by Indian Affairs Minister Jim Prentice in consultation with Phil Fontaine, national chief of the Assembly of First Nations.

Swain said that efforts made by aboriginal people in Saskatchewan -- particularly the Yellow Quill and Gordon First Nations -- to improve water management on reserves could be beneficial for other First Nations in the Canada.

"The lessons they learned are applicable all over the country," said Swain.

Swain, who is also the director of the Canadian Institute for Climate Studies at the University of Victoria, draws a lot of his experience during these consultations from when he chaired the research advisory panel of the Walkerton Inquiry.

"The policy question (at Walkerton) was, 'What do you do to assure public health?' " Swain said. "In some sense, that's the same question here."

He adds that these general health concerns, coupled with an historically paternalistic, top-down approach that the federal government has had when dealing with aboriginal concerns, have made the water issue on reserves more difficult to deal with.

"Most of the time, the approach that is applied is a sort of top-down approach," said Dr. Mandiangu Nsungu, medical health officer for the Northern Inter-Tribal Health Authority (NITHA). The authority is an organization that regulates various health services, including water management, in 33 First Nation communities across northern Saskatchewan. Nsungu said NITHA was a model organization for assuring safe water management because its members are given a strong voice in the decision-making processes.

"I wish there were more NITHAs around the country," said Nsungu. "There has to be in-depth discussions between the different stake-holders, and this must include the First Nations."

Nsungu adds that mid-sized organizations like NITHA are the best way to assure good water management on reserves because larger, inter-provincial regulatory bodies would become too distant and bureaucratic, while individual bands have too few resources to guarantee safety standards.

Another measure that would assure safer water on reserves would be aboriginal federations or associations starting up their own environment departments, said Justin Scott, water technician for the Beardy's and Okemasis First Nation.

"As stewards of Mother Earth, we're supposed to be the ones to sustain her for the next generation. But it's not happening," Scott said. "We talk about regulating water, but the thing is, if we're stewards, why don't we have an environment department?" He adds having an environment department on reserves and actively regulating water systems will allow the water issue to be dealt with more completely.

Swain says he hopes the panel's recommendations to Department of Indian and Northern Affairs, expected to be submitted in September, will give some practical alternatives for aboriginal peoples.

The StarPhoenix (Saskatoon) 2006