The Sunchild School is one of three public buildings currently affected by a water main break.

The Sunchild School is one of three public buildings currently affected by a water main break.

Boil water advisory affects Sunchild First Nation’s public buildings

School, health centre and band office included

A school is one of three public buildings on Sunchild First Nation that remains affected by a boil water advisory issued last week.

Alice Peters, Sunchild First Nations band manager and health director, said on Wednesday that three public buildings — Sunchild School, the band office and health centre — are still affected, as well as seven homes. The school, which has 300 students, did not open on Monday after the spring break, but did re-open on Tuesday.

School principal David Malthouse said they do have water for the toilets and there is drinkable water in coolers. All Health Canada guidelines and precautions are being followed.

Peters said the boil water advisory was issued March 28, when there was a break in the main water line, resulting in two 10,000-gallon reservoir tanks depressurizing and no water service for awhile.

About 40 to 50 homes and the public buildings were affected at first. On the same day as the break, two companies operating in the area, ConocoPhillips and Shell, began trucking in water at their cost to fill the reservoir tanks, and they provided bottled water to residents, Peters said.

“Those things are very appreciated.” Sunchild First Nation is located about 60 km northwest of Rocky Mountain House.

On Tuesday, most of the water service was restored. On Wednesday they were still trying to locate a break in the part of the line that affects the seven homes and public buildings. Until that is done, all homes that use the water system will remain under the advisory. Once the line is completely repaired, water testing has to be done before the advisory can be lifted, Peters said.

The reserve has about 160 homes but not all are connected to the water system. Many have their own wells. The water system also had a problem in January with chlorine levels and people were told not to drink the water. That incident also resulted in the school being closed.

Peters said that neighbours are helping each other out, as they did last summer when two days of heavy rains caused overland flooding on the reserve and about 60 homes were affected.

“We just have to weather it out,” she said.