A Vancouver Island-based water company is hoping it can help the residents of a British Columbia community dealing with the aftermath of a brutal wildfire.
Back in Juen, a devastating wildfire tore through Lytton, B.C., destroying everything in its path.
At the time, power was cut off disabling water treatment plants and although some plants are functioning again, hundreds of people in the area are still without clean drinking water.
“The potable water systems to the north of Lytton slowly came back online but the ones south of Lytton have not,” said Chief Patrick Michell of the Kanaka Bar First Nation south of Lytton.
Even though the plants are running again, they are unreliable and there are frequent boil water advisories.
“You can flush your toilet, you can water your lawn but you can’t drink it and you can’t cook with it,” added Michell.
However, Clearflo Solutions based in Courtenay says it has the answer, an innovative, completely portable, self-sufficient water purification plant that fits into a small shipping container.
The company now has one on the ground just outside Lytton.
“The water we’re treating is for potable water for consumption,” said Clearflo founder, Kevin Haughton.
According to Clearflo, it can produce enough water for 200 people to more than satisfy the temporary housing, others on site.
The system is powered primarily by renewable energy and uses natural filter media that wastes no water — unlike others that use reverse osmosis. It can produce 50,000-plus litres of clean, freshwater daily.
Haughton said Wednesday that local health authorities are reviewing the system and he expects approval to start up in about a week. He believes this system is the answer to safe drinking water problems on hundreds of First Nation reserves across Canada.
“Having it certified for use here is going to help us put this into any First Nation that needs it,” said Haughton.
“You can’t have an economy without water, you can’t have a quality of life without water,” added Michell.
Clearflo says it has agreed to contribute the system, and the cost of operations, until funding is finalized in conjunction with Kanaka Bar First Nation, Lytton First Nation, and the Village of Lytton.