Barren Lands First Nation New Lagoon and Associated Works Project

The Proposed Project

The project (Project) involves the replacement of the existing wastewater treatment facility (lagoon) and the upgrading of the water treatment plant (WTP) for the Barren Lands First Nation (BLFN). BLFN is located in northwestern Manitoba, approximately 350 km northwest of Thompson, Manitoba on the northern shore of Reindeer Lake. BLFN is served by winter road from Lynn Lake, Manitoba by air, and by barge from Kinoosao, Saskatchewan. BLFN has an estimated on reserve population of 519 (INAC, 2019).

The Project area is located in the Taiga Shield Ecozone in the Selwyn Lake Upland Ecoregion, and in the Seal River Ecodistrict (Smith et al. 1998). This ecoregion is characterized by black spruce with understories of dwarf birch, Labrador tea, lichens, and mosses supporting wildlife such as barren ground caribou, black bear, arctic fox, snowshoe hare, spruce grouse, osprey, and waterfowl. Soils in the ecoregion are characterized by bedrock outcrops covered with acidic, sandy, granitic till (Smith et al. 1998).

Water Treatment Plant
The existing WTP is located at UTM coordinates 14 V 341772 m E 6418592 m N and consists of an approximate 20 m x 13 m wood frame structure above a concrete water storage reservoir (623 m3) with an intake approximately 90 m offshore in Reindeer Lake. Water services are provided to buildings by insulated high density polyethylene (HDPE) pipe. The WTFP cannot be operated in automatic mode, and current capacity does not meet the 10-year projected demand; and therefore, requires repairs and upgrades (Neegan Burnside, 2020).

The existing wastewater treatment system in BLFN consists of a 2-cell facultative lagoon located at UTM
coordinates 14 V 343656 m E 6423483 m N that discharges seasonally into Reindeer Lake. Gas entrapment has been reported under the lagoon's geomembrane liner, causing the liner to float to the surface at multiple locations. The lagoon berm and fencing also requires repairs, and there are operational issues with all five of the lift stations including pump replacement and the restoration of automatic modes. Given the current issues and required upgrades, a new lagoon is required at a different location (Neegan Burnside, 2020).

The Project consists of the following components:

Water Treatment Plant


  • Upgrading the WTP with a new conventional water treatment process tank, a new UV and pumping system, and expanding the existing WTP building with a 17 m x 13 m addition to accommodate the new treatment infrastructure.
  • Expanding the below ground water storage reservoir to meet future water demand.



  • Decommissioning and abandonment of the existing lagoon.
  • Constructing a new lagoon at UTM coordinates 14V 344314 m E, 6422810 m N, discharging into an unnamed lake approximately 300 m south of the new lagoon (known locally as the lake across from the landfill) at UTM coordinates 14 V 344304 m E, 6422508 m N on a continuous basis. This lake outflows southward into Brochet Bay of Reindeer Lake.
  • Repairing the existing five lift stations.
  • Constructing a gravel access road to the lagoon (approximately 6- 8 m wide and 120 m long)

The proposed water system upgrades will provide treated water that meets the Health Canada Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality and 20-year calculated flow requirements. The new lagoon will provide water treatment and enhance effluent quality by reducing un-ionized ammonia and total and fecal coliforms to below applicable guidelines as outlined in the Wastewater Systems Effluent Regulations of the Fisheries Act, and providing phosphorus removal. The new lagoon design will also address the current floating liner challenges.


Latest update

End of Public Comment Period

December 19, 2021 – The public period on the project is closed. Indigenous Services Canada is considering comments received to help inform its determination on whether the carrying out of the project is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects.


Key documents

Key documents
Document Number Document Title File Date
1 Public Comment Period on Intent to Make a Determination - November 19, 2021


Tebesi Mosala
Indigenous Services Canada
Tebesi Mosala, Senior Environmental Specialist
200-365 Hargrave Street
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3C 4H4
Telephone: 204-984-0711
Fax: 204-983-2936

  • Location

    • Barren Lands First Nation (Manitoba)
    • Barren Lands First Nation (Manitoba)
    • Barren Lands First Nation (Manitoba)
  • Nature of Activity

    • Water Management
  • Assessment Status

    In progress
  • Start Date

  • Proponent

    Barren Lands First Nation
  • Authorities

    • Indigenous Services Canada
  • Assessment Type

    Project on federal lands
  • Reference Number


This map is for illustrative purposes. The markers represent the approximate locations based on available data. More than one marker may be identified for a given assessment.

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