Ecology North recently received funding from the World Wildlife Fund through their Loblaw Water Fund. The funds will be used to continue our source water implementation work with the community of Trout Lake, specifically with respect to hazardous waste!
The money will be spent over the course of the next year to undertake a project aimed at addressing community concerns and questions about the potential impacts that hazardous waste materials in the community are having on surrounding water quality. Our team, which consists of members from the Sambaa K'e Dene Band of Trout Lake and GNWT ENR, will be inventorying, consolidating and removing hazardous waste from the community landfill, while also collecting water samples in streams and wetlands surrounding the landfill before and after the clean up.
In addition to collecting valuable data and completing an important clean up initiative, we see this project as a great hands-on training opportunity for community members to learn more about hazardous waste management and water sampling. Depending on additional funding, we also hope to open this up to a regional training opportunity where folks from other Dehcho communities with similar challenges and questions can come and learn about hazardous waste management and water sampling, and apply their experiences to their own communities.
We are really excited about this project because it is a continuation of work we have been doing with GNWT ENR and SKDB over the past two years related to source water protection planning. In 2015 the community completed a draft source water protection plan that identified several potential water quality contaminant sources within the Trout Lake watershed, and a list of desired management actions to address the potential contaminant sources.
Following the completion of the plan, our team started moving towards implementing priority action items in the plan. Although the priorities are diverse, water quality sampling is a clear priority. During 2015-2016 we focused our implementation efforts on doing water quality sampling near abandoned well and waste sites in the watershed (for more information on the outcomes of that project, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org).
Building on the results and capacity developed during the 2015-2016 sampling work, our team decided it was the best time to move towards addressing the actions in the source water plan related to hazardous waste in the community and associated concerns about water quality impacts. And so here we are!
Stay tuned for updates as the project progresses!