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Become a Member

Purchase a $20 membership to the Safe Drinking Water Foundation and receive your choice of the DVD "Downstream" or the DVD "Crapshoot".  A $40 membership will allow you to receive both the DVD "Downstream" and the DVD "Crapshoot".  For more information, click here.



Canadian Teachers are Waiting for Over 1500 Sponsored Kits to be Sent to their Schools

Canadian teachers are currently waiting for over 1500 sponsored Operation Water Drop, Operation Water Pollution and Operation Water Biology kits to be sent to their schools.  Individuals and companies can sponsor kits for schools.  If you/your company sponsors kits, you/your company will be acknowledged in the letter that accompanies the kit.  You can even decide in which geographic area your kits will be dispersed or to which specific school(s).  Please e-mail if you would like to sponsor Operation Water Drop and/or Operation Water Pollution kits or if you would like more information.
Educational Kits for Schools

Many school divisions and districts from coast to coast are recommending the Safe Drinking Water Foundation's education programs to their teachers!  Thank you to all of the administrators who are promoting our programs!  To find out whether a sponsored kit is available for your school,  send an e-mail to or phone 306-934-0389.


Learn More About Our Two New Education Programs

Operation Water Biology
Operation Community Water Footprint


Household Reverse Osmosis UnitsReverse Osmosis (RO) filters are able to remove both chemical and particulate (microbes for example) contaminants. An RO filter is a semi-permeable membrane with pores that are up to 30, 000 times smaller than the width of a human hair, allowing only pure water to pass through. The Safe Drinking Water Foundation sells extremely high quality household Reverse Osmosis (RO) units that will ensure your family is drinking clean water. For more information click here.Educational Webinar Sessions!Educational webinars are similar to conference calls except that they are conducted via the computer rather than the telephone and people from all over the world can join in with no cost to them. Webinars allow information to be presented (i.e., PowerPoint presentations) over the Internet to a large number of participants who can communicate by talking, typing, and using the wide range of emoticons available in the webinar software. Participants taking part in the webinar need a computer and access to the Internet. A headset to communicate with other participants is beneficial but not required. A wide range of issues are discussed in each session, ranging from water related issues to troubleshooting complex water treatment challenges to the best methods to use the Safe Drinking Water Foundation’s education programs in the classroom. If you are a water operator, teacher, student, community leader, concerned citizen, or just interested in water issues, you can take part in the next webinar session. The Safe Drinking Water Foundation is holding webinars every two weeks, for more information email or register to take part in the next session. To view videos of previously held webinars please visit Water DropElementary teachers can demonstrate eight scientific tests on their own community drinking water and high school teachers can guide their students to conduct five additional analytical tests. High school students can test three water samples in addition to their local water. This program encourages students to develop “critical thinking skills” which will empower them to become actively involved in issues such as ensuring safe drinking water within their community, and on a global scale. Click here to find out more!Operation Water PollutionA program useful for grades five to twelve, the students discover how water pollution is reversed and what they can do to affect change in their community with regards to water pollution. Click here to find out more!Operation Water HealthThrough a variety of activities and cooperative learning strategies, the students explore common disease-causing microbes found in water, how these microbes are removed or inactivated in water with water treatment, and the diseases these microbes cause when they are not identified and treated in drinking water systems. Click here to find out more!Operation Water FlowOWF encourages students to establish the true cost of water (economic and environmental); the social responsibilities of providing safe drinking water; the need for national regulations; and the need for water conservation and source water protection, etc. Click here to find out more!Operation Water SpiritA collection of thematic units and lesson plans which will reinforce Aboriginal culture and perspectives regarding water for Aboriginal students - while at the same time provide an Aboriginal perspective to non-Aboriginal students about water issues. Operation Water Spirit invites teachers to encourage classroom discussions to enable students to gain a closer understanding of Aboriginal issues and perspectives surrounding drinking water. Click here to find out more!Template for ChangeIncludes 12 DVDs contained in one wallet. Presentations are by engineers, microbiologists and scientists from around the world giving a global perspective, and an independent, non-government look at water issues. Students can then organize community awareness evenings to pass on their newfound knowledge to community citizens and leaders. This is also an opportunity for students to fundraise by charging a small admission fee to attendees. Click here to find out more!Images LibraryThe SDWF has compiled a library of photos in specific categories for students and teachers to download and use for educational purposes. Check it out...Anaerobic WatersWhen high levels of nutrients are released into water bodies (i.e., rivers, streams, lakes, etc.), the result is the proliferated growth of algae, which consumes all the available oxygen. This unregulated growth starves the water of oxygen and kills other oxygen dependant organisms (i.e., fish, crustaceans, etc.) including itself. This is called eutrophication, and can occur when wastewater treatment plants release raw sewage, resulting in turbid and pungent smelling water.Poor Source Water and the IBROMWhen you take the drinking water produced by a conventional water treatment system at Saddle Lake Cree Nation you get a "drinking water" which is a combination of these two pails. The RO that is the final step in the IBROM process splits and discards the wastewater (pail on left) and leaves the community with truly safe drinking water (pail on the right). Click here to read more about IBROM! Sustainable CommunitiesLarge amounts of chemicals, such as the ones shown above, are typically required when treating poor source water with conventional drinking water treatment systems (i.e., manganese greensand). Since the installation of the Integrated Biological and Reverse Osmosis Membrane (IBROM) treatment system at George Gordon FN in Saskatchewan, large amounts of chemicals are no longer needed, as the IBROM system uses virtually zero chemicals. It is estimated that George Gordon FN (a population of 1200 people) saves over $100,000 in chemical costs per annum since the installation of the IBROM treatment system. In addition to being extremely cost effective, the IBROM treatment system is very environmentally friendly, as it uses 98% less water than the previous system for membrane cleanings. To learn more about the IBROM treatment system, please click here!Source Water ProtectionSource water protection refers to protecting ground water and surface water from pollution. Pollutants can come in the form of industrial waste, untreated human waste, and agricultural fertilizers to name a few. Once these water supplies become polluted, it makes water treatment more challenging and can render drinking water unsafe to drink. Yellow Quill FN has extremely poor source water and it is for this reason why the community was on a boil water advisory for nine years. Therefore, protecting source waters is a very important stage in the production of potable and palatable drinking water.Anaerobic WatersWhen high levels of nutrients are released into water bodies (i.e., rivers, streams, lakes, etc.), the result is the proliferated growth of algae, which consumes all the available oxygen. This unregulated growth starves the water of oxygen and kills other oxygen dependant organisms (i.e., fish, crustaceans, etc.) including itself. This is called eutrophication, and can occur when wastewater treatment plants release raw sewage, resulting in turbid and pungent smelling water.Reverse OsmosisThe Reverse Osmosis (RO) filtration system produces exceptionally pure drinking water, removing minerals, toxins, viruses, bacteria, and protozoans to name a few. In fact, RO filtration renders drinking water so pure that SDWF scientists recommend that RO water passes through a mineral bed of calcium and magnesium to re-introduce beneficial nutrients to RO water. For more information concerning RO filters, please click here.Saddle Lake Reservoir - before the IBROMThis is a reservoir located at Saddle Lake FN in Alberta. Notice the green tinge to the water, and the green sludge like material at the bottom of the reservoir. Saddle Lake FN has since installed the IBROM treatment system and now has translucent reservoirs that are among the cleanest in the world!!Advanced Aboriginal Water Treatment TeamThis is Mr. Leon Cardinal hard at work at the drinking water treatment plant in Saddle Lake FN in Alberta. Mr. Cardinal is a water operator in Saddle Lake FN as well as a member of the Advanced Aboriginal Water Treatment Team (AAWTT). The AAWTT is a group of FN volunteer water operators from throughout Canada. They are highly skilled and provide problem solving assistance concerning drinking water quality issues to other FN water operators within Canada. AAWTT members work closely with SDWF scientists and are considered experts in drinking water quality processes (i.e., IBROM technology). For more information on the AAWTT click here, or here for IBROM technology.Integrated Biological and Reverse Osmosis Membrane (IBROM)The Integrated Biological and Reverse Osmosis Membrane treatment system relies largely on biological filtration to remove impurities found in source waters. Instead of using chemical oxidants (i.e., potassium permanganate) to remove contaminants, the IBROM system relies on microbes to consume the unwanted materials in the water. Under controlled conditions, the microbes are used to remove impurities that cannot be removed by other treatment processes (i.e., manganese greensand filters). Therefore, the IBROM system can treat extremely poor source waters and produce drinking water quality that is second to none! The implementation of the IBROM treatment system at Yellow Quill FN removed a nine year long boil water advisory in this community! That’s tangible success! For more information concerning IBROM technology, please click here.Reverse Osmosis Pore SizeReverse Osmosis (RO) is an extremely efficient method of water filtration. To give you an idea of how small the pore sizes are in RO filters, please examine the above illustration. As you can see, the pore sizes are remarkably small and filter out the smallest of materials (i.e., viruses, bacteria, etc.). As well, RO filters remove nearly all soluble and insoluble material in drinking water, making the water exceptionally pure. In fact, RO water is so pure, that beneficial nutrients that are removed (i.e., magnesium and calcium) during filtration need to be added back into the water for health benefits. For more information concerning Reverse Osmosis, please click here.Black Ooze in Yellow Quill FN Water ReservoirThis is Yellow Quill FN water operator and Advanced Aboriginal Water Treatment Team (AAWTT) member Roberta Neapetung climbing down into the reservoir to clean the black ooze that accumulated in the drinking water reservoirs. This black ooze is the result of very poor source waters and inefficient drinking water quality treatment systems. Cleaning these reservoirs was a monthly occurrence prior to the Integrated Biological and Reverse Osmosis Membrane (IBROM) treatment system that was installed at Yellow Quill FN. In fact, Yellow Quill FN was on a boil water advisory for nine years before the IBROM treatment system was installed. Following the installation of the IBROM treatment system in 2004, a quarter was dropped into the reservoir and it can be seen as clearly today as the day it was tossed in! For more information on the AAWTT click here, or here for IBROM technology.Microbes and the IBROM Treatment SystemThis is an electron microscope picture of the bacteria that are harvested and used to remove contaminants and impurities in source water using the Integrated Biological and Reverse Osmosis Membrane (IBROM) treatment technology. IBROM technology uses microbes (as seen in the image) to remove impurities from drinking water. In addition to procuring extremely safe drinking water, the IBROM system is very environmentally friendly and much more cost-effective than conventional water treatment systems. For more information concerning IBROM technology, please click here.

Dr. David Schindler's Interview with CBC News Regarding his Study on Toxins in the Athabasca River

High levels of toxic pollutants in Alberta's Athabasca River system are linked to oilsands mining, researchers have found.

The findings counter the reports by a joint industry-government panel that the pollutant levels are due to natural sources rather than human development.

Mercury, thallium and other pollutants accumulated in higher concentrations in snowpacks and waterways near and downstream from oilsands development than in more remote areas, said a study to be published Monday afternoon in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Upstream and undeveloped sites exposed directly to the McMurray Geologic Formation, the natural source of the oilsands, did not show high levels of pollutants.

The study led by Erin Kelly and David Schindler of the University of Alberta also found that levels of the pollutants cadmium, copper, lead, mercury, nickel, silver and zinc exceeded federal and provincial guidelines for the protection of aquatic life in melted snow or water collected near or downstream from oilsands mining.

"They're all elements that are known to be very toxic at low concentrations," Schindler said. He added that natural levels of some elements are already high in waters in that area.

"Adding more is certainly not going to do the ecosystem any good."

Researchers at Queen's University in Kingston, Ont., and Juneau, Alaska-based Oceana, a non-profit group focused on water quality issues, also contributed to the report. The study was funded by the Tides Foundation and the Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation, two non-profit groups with an interest in environmental projects.

Residents downstream from the oilsands have expressed concerns that pollution in the river may be causing increased cancer rates.

However, the Regional Aquatic Monitoring Program, or RAMP, a joint industry-government environmental body that monitors water in the Athabasca River and its tributaries, said in its 2009 report that generally, "water quality was similar between [test] stations located within and outside oil sands development and when compared to conditions prior to development."

The program has reported the pollutant levels occur naturally because of erosion of the natural geologic formation that contains the oilsands and are not caused by human activity.
Goal to test claims of monitoring program

The authors of Monday's study said they wanted to test those claims.

As of 12:30 p.m. ET, RAMP had not responded to requests for comment from CBC News.

RAMP's findings have been questioned in the past, but critics did not have any data from independent studies to compare to the program's data, the paper said.

The new findings confirm "the serious defects" of the monitoring program, the study concluded. It added that detailed monitoring, including the ability to distinguish the sources of the contaminants, is "essential" to control the potential impact of pollutants on human health.

Schindler said the levels of pollutants found by his study were easily measurable and "any program that cannot detect these levels has to be considered incompetent."

He called for Environment Canada to take over monitoring.

The researchers collected water from more than 35 sites in February and June 2008 along the Athabasca River, its tributaries, the Athabasca Delta and Lake Athabasca. They accumulated winter snowpack from 31 other sites in the region in March 2008.

The researchers chose sampling sites upstream and downstream from oilsands mining, with both within 50 kilometres of oilsands developments and near undeveloped oilsands sites.

They then tested the samples for levels of 13 elements listed as priority pollutants under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Water Act.

Link to video which contains an interview with Dr. David Schindler, one of the leaders of the study and the Chairman of the SDWF Board of Directors:

Have comments regarding this story or video? Write to and we will compile a summary of the comments that people submit and post them on our website!

Want to help improve the future of water in Canada by helping the SDWF to educate students about issues surrounding drinking water? Make a donation!

SDWF Facts

  1. SDWF aims at making truly safe drinking water a reality for ALL Canadians;
  2. SDWF is a not-for- profit Canadian organization;
  3. SDWF allocates $.95 of every dollar for program funding;
  4. SDWF produces water education programs that are used throughout N. American schools;
  5. SDWF uses scientific solutions to treat highly polluted source waters in FN and rural communities;
  6. SDWF works extensively with First Nations people throughout Canada;
  7. SDWF is comprised of volunteer scientists from universities throughout the world;
  8. SDWF scientists have revolutionized water treatment processes with the IBROM;
  9. SDWF relies on over 1000 hours per month of volunteer support from volunteers all over the world;
  10. SDWF seeks at invoking positive policy change at all government levels;
  11. SDWF seeks to promote and develop water treatment systems that are environmentally friendly;
  12. SDWF has an internationally renowned Advanced Aboriginal Water Treatment Team;
  13. SDWF has many education programs that have been translated into French and Cree;
  14. SDWF has over 40 fact sheets online, many of which have been translated into French and Cree.

    Public Policy

    SDWF is committed to supporting public policies that help people access safe drinking water. We believe that practical policies based on sound science are the best way to ensure that everyone drinks safe water. With over a decade of technical expertise and experience working with rural communities, we educate and inform First Nations, policy-makers and the public to build support for the right policies.
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    First Nations Drinking Water Policy

    While it is hard for many rural communities to provide safe drinking water, the situation in First Nations communities is especially difficult. Since 1995, a number of reports have highlighted the unacceptable situation in these communities. Health Canada still tells 117 communities to boil their water and Indian Affairs says that there is a good chance that water systems in 85 communities could break down.
    Read More


    Operation Water Drop - Allows students to perform hands-on tests on their local water and compare their water to other water samples and the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality

    Operation Water Pollution - Students learn about what water pollution is, what can be done about the problem and what they, personally, can do about the problem.

    Operation Water Biology - Teaches students about chlorine, chloramine, ammonia, iron and biological water treatment (a more environmentally friendly method of treating water)

    Operation Water Health - Students are guided through an examination of health issues related to drinking water

    Operation Water Flow - A cross-curricular program that gives students a more thorough understanding of issues surrounding drinking water

    Operation Water Spirit - Conveys Aboriginal culture and perspectives regarding drinking water

    Operation Community Water Footprint - Allows students to calculate how much source water their community uses in order to produce each litre of drinking water