Clearford Expands Services into First Nations Communities
Clearford is offering its water and wastewater operations, compliance, and engineering services to First Nations clients. Clearford currently provides these essential services to decentralized communities, small municipalities, and remote mines, and will now expand these services to First Nations communities.
Operating water facilities for First Nations is a unique opportunity that requires a willingness to learn about the community and how to properly deploy an operations team. Water quality at First Nations communities is a frequent news topic across Canada. Located outside traditional municipal servicing solutions, Clearford was presented with an opportunity at a First Nations community in Southwestern Ontario that was looking for support in operating and managing their community owned water and wastewater infrastructure.
Engaging with the existing First Nations operations team and the Director of Public Works was the first step. Understanding the Band Council’s needs was paramount and dominated the discussions in the initial meeting. History of the community’s past efforts to outsource and self-manage their infrastructure allowed Clearford to focus resources in an effective manner and customize a service offering specifically to meet the Band Council’s needs.
When presented with the opportunity to provide safe drinking water to the Southwestern Ontario community, Clearford was able to provide a rapid response in transitioning operations from its current operator. What typically takes months, was consolidated into a short two-week transition plan. As a result, Clearford mapped out both short-term and long-term operations plans.
The short-term plan relied on identifying existing staff certified to operate the reserve’s water treatment plant. The long-term plan encompassed a range of challenges including client relations, federal government regulations, classified system operational requirements, and team assembly and travel.
A range of virtual and in-person meetings took place between the Band and Clearford. “It was assuring to see our operators step up to participate in the rapid transition to operate the Band’s water system,” said Clearford’s Western Regional Manager of Operations, David Kohli. “To experience commitment like that, especially during the holiday season, validated our team’s commitment to provide safe water in, and beyond, Ontario,” Mr. Kohli concluded.
With a shared vision, Clearford compliance, remote access, data logging, engineering, and health & safety teams worked in unison with operations to develop a transition plan.
Federal government regulations
Water treatment systems servicing First Nations are regulated through the Federal Government rather than the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks of Ontario. Clearford’s compliance team engaged with representatives from both the Federal and Ontario ministries involved to confirm the process in meeting federal compliance requirements.
Operational requirements for classified systems
In the municipal water sector, water and wastewater systems are classified on a 1-4 level depending on the size and complexity of the system. With a portfolio comprised of more than 270 decentralized systems under management, Clearford has the experience to operate systems of all sizes using any treatment technology. Existing staff hold the appropriate licenses and experience required to operate any classified system, which enabled Clearford to rapidly assemble an operations team at the Southwestern Ontario community.
Assembling a qualified operations team
With over 50 qualified operators located throughout Ontario, Clearford can respond to any client’s needs within very short timeframes. This robust team includes operators with all required licenses to comply with any assignment. The operations team is supported by Clearford’s experienced compliance and engineering teams. All teams are supported by an experienced Health and Safety department that ensure services are delivered in the safest way.
Clearford Water Systems Inc. is one of the largest operators of private water and wastewater systems in Ontario with almost 200 sites across the province. Our diverse team of licensed engineers, certified operators and technical staff provide total solutions that meet the water management needs of owners, property managers, and communities.
In-house personnel include designers and technical specialists in water and wastewater, engineering, compliance & regulations, construction services, and health & safety. Water and wastewater operators are licensed by the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks.
Clearford continues to expand its capacity to deliver these services in Ontario and remote mines in Northern Canada.