UINR's Lorraine Marshall with Rosie Sylliboy

Sitting at the kitchen table sharing a cup of coffee or tea with a friend…it’s something that most of us take for granted. But not Rosie Sylliboy and some of the other full-time residents of Malagawatch. A boil water advisory has been in place since April 2011 when UINR began testing the wells in Malagawatch.

Health Canada funded a project that allowed UINR staff, Lorraine Marshall, to add Malagawatch to her sites for water testing. What she found was not good. Lorraine explains “While the chemical analysis was within Health Canada’s Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality, bacteriological results were consistently testing positive for total coliforms and in some cases, E. coli. Total coliforms are found naturally in soil and the gut of animals and humans, and in water they can indicate contamination from faecal matter. E.coli is found in the guts of animals and plants and indicates a definite faecal contamination.”

Drinking water is considered safe when there are no total coliforms or E. coli. These bacteria can get into shallow, dug wells from ground seepage or surface water. UINR was able to redirect funds from chemical testing to provide a solution to the problem of unsafe drinking water for the residents. Six homes now have an ultraviolet light and micro filtration system that will kill all microorganisms and remove particulate matter, including parasites.

Rosie Sylliboy couldn’t be happier, “Finally, I can really enjoy my home and not have to worry about someone accidently having a drink from the tap and I don’t have to haul clean drinking water home. After the boil water advisory, I couldn’t even take a shower here. Thanks to UINR, I know my water is safe now”


Rosie Sylliboy, Lorraine Marshall and installer Dave duChene

How it works

The system is installed at the head of the home’s water system. First the water passes through a filter that takes out particulate matter and then it passes through a glass tube with an ultraviolet light.

The light sterilizes harmful microorganisms and the water making it safe to drink and use.

The light needs to be replaced once a year, a small price to pay for the piece of mind of having cool, clean water!