Frequently Asked Questions

Operations Questions

What is the operational relationship between Band Council and AFNWA?

AFNWA is owned by the communities, who each have a vote on Water Authority items brought forward at the Annual General Meeting.

Since AFNWA is a not-for-profit corporation, there is one vote per community so that each member has an equal opportunity to voice their ideas or concerns. At least two-thirds (2/3) of the AFNWA Board consists of First Nations Chiefs.

How does the AFNWA assure that it is the only entity that will be accessing, changing, and managing the water and wastewater systems?

By transferring the responsibility for water and wastewater assets to AFNWA, the organization will have the right to operate and maintain water and wastewater systems on behalf of communities. As such, AFNWA will have exclusive responsibility for the infrastructure, and reducing community liability to maintain clean and safe drinking water and wastewater, while also protecting the public and surrounding environment from degradation.

Who do the Operators report to within the AFNWA structure?

Operators will report to Hub Supervisors who, in turn, will report to the Superintendent of Operations. They will also be supported by the Manager of Operations, Superintendent of Technical Services, Operations Engineer, and the AFNWA Engineering Department.

What is the process to order replacement parts when things break down?

In the event of an emergency, the Operations Department will be given full authorization to make repairs as efficiently and expeditiously as possible.

For planned work, the AFNWA Procurement Policy is in place to address purchasing equipment or parts.

It is expected that inventory for key parts, equipment, and chemicals will be stored in hub communities and headquarters.

Who will be the regulator for water and wastewater?

The wastewater regulator is Environment and Climate Change Canada [ECCC], who currently administers the Wastewater Systems Effluent Regulations [WSER]. The oversight agency for drinking water is in the final stages of development. 

Will Operators have backup staff to fill-in for them when they go on leave for training, sickness, or vacation?

AFNWA will provide backup staff so Operators are able to take time off for illness, vacation, training, or conferences.

This will be supported by other operations staff and a more robust and integrated SCADA system that can provide supplemental oversight to facility and system operations, and adjustment and control of equipment, and alarm annunciation.

Who will be the contact for septic tank pump-outs, and issues with individual wells if the Operator is not a Band employee?

This will depend on whether the Band has staff that could perform this role. AFNWA could provide this as an added service and charge a nominal fee to the Band, at the discretion of each of the participating communities.

Funding for private wells and septic systems is currently administered through a different program than central water and wastewater systems.

AFNWA has only been given a funded mandate to operate, maintain, and upgrade central water and wastewater infrastructure on reserve lands.