First Nation declares state of emergency


GRASSY NARROWS, Ont. – A northwestern Ontario First Nation has declared a state of emergency, saying its drinking water contains potentially dangerous chemicals.

The Grassy Narrows First Nation says it has been under a boil-water advisory for more than a year, but even boiling won’t remove the chemicals.

The community near Kenora says testing this summer found tricholormethanes, haloacetic acids and hexaclorcyclopentadiene — all disinfectant byproducts considered possible carcinogens.

They also say that government tests last year found the reserve’s drinking water was at 120 times the safe level for turgidity, a measure of the relative clarity or cloudiness of water.

A recent report commissioned by the Ontario government and Grassy Narrows also found waterways in and around the community appear to have high mercury levels decades after they were polluted.

Both provincial and federal governments have said they continue to work to address the issue of mercury contamination.

For now, Grassy Narrows says it is delivering bottled water door to door to ensure residents have safe drinking water.

“We are scared that our drinking water has been unsafe for a long time now and the federal government does not seem to care at all,” Coun. Rudy Turtle said in a statement. “Our people have already been poisoned by mercury and now we have to deal with unsafe drinking water.”

The community says it lacks the funds to repair and upgrade its water treatment facility.


  1. From
    “The original contamination began when a Dryden, Ont., paper plant dumped 10 tonnes of mercury, a potent neurotoxin, into the English-Wabigoon River system between 1962 and 1970. The site of the plant, now under different ownership, is about 100 kilometres upstream from Grassy Narrows.”

    Maybe that company that saved money by dumping recklessly instead of properly processing and disposing of it should pony up some of their money stash to truck in water to the community they knowingly polluted???
    Kinda makes sense instead of bringing in a chief that has nothing to do with the situation whatsoever 🙂

  2. Terrible situation. Theresa Spence should dig up a million or so from her government money stash and send it off to them to truck in good water until a permanent solution is found.

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