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Community Lifts Five Drinking Water Advisories

More members of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte now have access to fresh, clean water. The community’s new water treatment plant, reservoir and supply system now provide this valuable resource to 321 homes across the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory – lifting five long-term drinking water advisories.


Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte


Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, Ontario

Project Scale

$60 Million (total for all three phases)

Supplying clean water to the Mohawk Territory

The Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte (MBQ) are one of the largest First Nations in Ontario and reside in Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory. Located along the northern shores of the Bay of Quinte, just west of Deseronto, MBQ enjoys a healthy, sustainable and culturally-rich Kanyen’kehá:ka community life both on- and off-reserve.

Studies dating back as far as 1992 identified significant well contamination issues in the community. Further studies in 2006 also documented water shortages. The results of these studies indicated that most of the wells were classified as groundwater under the direct influence of surface water (GUDI) and the community was put under a drinking water advisory in 2008. Other drinking water advisories have since been put in place throughout the region as well.

Seeking a reliable source of safe drinking water, the Mohawk Nation undertook a project to supply, treat and distribute clean water throughout the community. To successfully complete the project, the scope of work was divided across three phases:

  • Phase one included the construction of a water treatment plant with a new raw water intake, pumping station and six kilometres of watermain to connect the core of the community to water service.
  • Phase two involved the development of an elevated water storage reservoir and an additional eight kilometres of watermain to extend water service throughout the western side of the community as far as Shannonville.
  • Phase three included the installation of another seven kilometres of watermain, bringing water service to the eastern and more remote areas of the community.

Mitigating environmental risks

Our team understood how critical this infrastructure project was to the community's overall health and wellbeing. Leading this project across all three phases, it was our priority to drive construction performance and successfully complete each phase.

Each phase posed unique challenges for the project team. When managing a project that requires a fair amount of digging – at times under existing roads or through rock – it’s important to consider the environmental impact and risks that can arise as a result of the excavation. One portion of the project involved installing watermains along a road with several gas stations where soil contamination was identified. This was a concern because there was a possibility of fuel or other contaminants leaking into the water system. To stop this from happening, the project team redesigned the watermain and path to include materials and barriers that would prevent contaminants from penetrating the new water system.

In the latest phase, the project team was preparing to bore through rock under a river to bring water service to the other side. They took the necessary precautions, but as they began construction the rock started to frack, creating an underwater dust cloud that was potentially harmful to the aquatic habitat. To counter this, the project team determined that the safest option involved running the watermain deeper under the river, which would require a redesign, increase costs and impact the schedule. Our team helped mitigate those project risks by working with the project team to repurpose and extend existing watermains elsewhere in the system, reuse salvageable components, and use alternate methods of excavation to keep costs down and reduce schedule delays. All of these activities helped to reduce the overall scope of work where possible, while also meeting project objectives.

Through careful planning and clear, consistent communication, we were able to engage each stakeholder and facilitate negotiations, redesigns and environmental testing to effectively mitigate any and all challenges.

Five long-term drinking water advisories lifted

The latest phase of the Tyendinaga water supply project was completed in March 2022, enabling the MBQ community to lift five drinking water advisories. The project not only allows the community to treat and manage its own water source, but extends fresh, clean and drinkable water to approximately 321 homes­­ – which is a major milestone in addressing MBQ’s current and future water needs.

Our team is proud to have supported MBQ in this initiative and celebrate its success alongside the community and project partners.

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