The Grand Council of the Crees

Call for Tenders - Cree Regional Authority/Grand Council of the Crees (EXPIRED)

Posted: 2009-04-10

This call for tenders has expired.

Overview of Work to be Undertaken:

  1. Water and sediment testing during the period of April 2009 to August 2010 of waters and river- lake beds affected by the June 2008 spill of mining residues from the former Opemiska Mine Site at Chapais Quebec plus up-stream reference sampling;
  2. Analysis of the results to determine whether any of the substances found are prone to bio- accumulation and would justify by virtue of the significance of their presence further testing of the local fauna in the second phase (2010);
  3. Verification of the engineering soundness of the proposed plans for the reconstruction of the settling-pond dyke;
  4. Training of two Cree candidates in the basics of taking water and sediment samples;


The failure of the dyke on the settling-pond of the Opemiska Mine (copper-gold) during the spring of 2008 caused mining residues that were resident in the pond for well over 20 years to spill into Slam Creek and thereby to flow into the Obatogamau River, Waswanipi River and Gull Lake. The community of Waswanipi (pop. 1800) draws its municipal water from the Waswanipi River, downstream from the spill site. Moreover, the population harvests fish from the water bodies downstream of the spill. Just after the spill took place in June of 2008, the Waswanipi hunters and community residents observed the initial plume of suspended material that worked its way downstream from the spill site to beyond the community site and undoubtedly into Waswanipi Lake. They have since observed ongoing discharges from the site into the river.

Many of the community residents are concerned and wonder whether the residue from the mine is harmful to their health. They question whether their water source is periodically or permanently contaminated as a result of the spill and whether the fish and perhaps waterfowl and mammals harvested from the downstream waters and adjacent lands are also contaminated. Such concerns persist in spite of the testing done by the community administration that has not shown any reason for concern about the community water supply. The Quebec Department of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks conducted tests immediately after the spill and concluded that the area of the spill site had caused the filling in of parts of the bed of Slam Creek, immediately below the spill site with mining residue, but also concluded that downstream from the spill site in the Obatogamau and Waswanipi Rivers the dilution of the mining residue was sufficient to diminish the content of all elements in the water to well within the provincial standards for drinking water. They did not test for organic chemicals as these were not thought to have resulted from the spill.

Their testing of the water in Slam Creek and in Obatogamau River below the outfall of the creek into the river showed very high levels of certain minerals. At Waswanipi the Department tested the water quality and the test results did not show any reason for concern. Whether the improved test results of the water at the community were due to the fact that the full impact plume had not yet reached the community when the testing was done, or whether they were due to the high level of dilution of the spill waters is a subject debated in the community. Certainly the plume was later noted by community members to have turned the water a milky colour sometime after the initial tests. Subsequent testing of the municipal water by the community and of the water in Slam Creek and in the Obatogamau and Waswanipi Rivers by the Department of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks suggest that the water quality downstream from the site improved in a matter of days after the spill and that the high level of turbidity noted after the spill had subsided.

The results of these tests were sent by the Department of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks to the local community environmental officer and to the Cree Regional Authority. Since the initial testing that was done to capture initial conditions, testing has been carried out in a more systematic way by the Department of Natural Resources with the cooperation of the Department of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks, the Cree Regional Authority and the communities of Oujé Bougoumou and Waswanipi. Copies of these materials may be obtained from the Cree Regional Authority. The cooperation of all parties continues.

Last summer the Department of Natural Resources installed a series of dykes below the site of the spill in the bed of Slam Creek. It also restored the section of highway washed away by the spill. Unfortunately, the efforts to limit the release of sediments into the lower water system failed and by the end of the seasonal autumn showers the dykes had been effectively washed away. The design of these original dykes had not been submitted for Social and Environmental Impact Review and Assessment. Late this winter the Department of Natural Resources will undertake to install another catchment structure in the lower reaches of Slam Creek, similarly this will not benefit from impact assessment and review. This work will result in the creation of a catchment basin extending from Slam Creek upstream and including the failed dyke and settling pond. It is understood that before, during and after period of construction, the two concerned departments will undertake water and stream bed sampling in the area of the spill and downstream from it to Waswanipi and that they will do so in cooperation with representatives of the community of Waswanipi.

While the community appreciates the efforts made by the concerned government departments, they want to doubly verify the test results and would like a second professional opinion on the plans for construction of the control structure in Slam Creek.


  1. To provide the community of Waswanipi and the Grand Council of the Crees/CRA with cost effective and accurate data and advice on the potential contaminants in the waters of the above mentioned water bodies and their beds and in certain samples of fish and other animals;
  2. To provide advice in the adequacy of the proposed works to block further out-flow of mine residues into the Obatogamau River;
  3. To train two Cree candidates in the taking of water samples, of samples of the beds of rivers and lakes and in the taking of biological samples from fish, mammals and birds;
  4. To provide a report on the findings that includes commentary on possibility for the transmission of these substances to the animal or human populations on the water system

Statement of Work:

  1. To review the proposed plans for the control structure in Slam Creek and to communicate the results in a report to the Waswanipi environment officer and to the designated specialist from the Cree Regional Authority - this work will be done by a civil engineer with qualifications in the building of dykes and dams.
  2. Develop a regimen for the testing of water and stream sediment: site selection to include: above the outfall of Slam Creek into the Obatogamau River (reference site), within the Slam Creek- settling pond, at the outfall of Slam Creek, above the community water intake and at the community water intake. This will consist of a minimum of five test sites to be selected in consultation with the community environmental officer and a Cree Regional Authority specialist. The community may select further sites along the drainage system below the spill where Cree camps are located. The incremental unit cost for such evaluations will have to be indicated in the proposal. The testing at these sites will take place: i) during of the works, ii) during the phases of the work (construction of the control structure on Slam Creek, reconstruction of the dyke, excavation of sediments from the bed of Slam Creek), iii) after these works are completed [autumn of 2009], and iv) in the winter, spring and summer of 2010, for a total of eight periodically taken sets of test data from at least five locations. This work is to be done by a professional qualified in water and sediment testing for inorganic and organic substances (curriculum vitae to be provided). Select testing of a limited number of fish and some other biotic specimens will be decided in consultation and done in cooperation with the local trappers with residents along the river. The overall regimen will be approved by the Waswanipi Council and by the designated specialist from the Cree Regional Authority. If after the testing of 2009 is completed it is found that further testing in respect to the local fauna is justified, the proponent will, at the request of the CRA, plan this aspect for that year and will develop the proposal with the CRA designated specialist and with the Local Environmental Officer of Waswanipi.
  3. Training of the Cree environmental officer and one other person (to be selected by the Cree Regional Authority) in the taking of water, sediment and biological samples (The cost of the time of these trainees will be paid separately from this mandate, by the community directly to the two candidates.), this training will be done by the specialist that undertakes to do the sampling.
  4. All trucks, boats, motors, snowmobiles, and all tents and related equipment and camp food that might be required for this work will be supplied and the use of such equipment and food paid to the owners of such equipment separately, by the community.
  5. All approved travel to the Waswanipi-Chapais area and related lodging and food required when not in the bush will be paid according to the rates of the Cree Regional Authority upon submission of the claims - see attached rates.
  6. The testing will focus on inorganic substances in the water as well as any traces of cyanide, organic chemicals related to mining flotation substances and PCB's or other.


  1. A report will be submitted as soon after the results are known and any findings that are considered as dangerous to the health of the people of Waswanipi will be immediately reported to the Council of Waswanipi and to the Cree Regional Authority. By the end of November 2009, a summary report on the work undertaken to that date will be made and submitted to the Waswanipi Council and to the Cree Regional Authority designated specialist. This report will outline the probable risk to the health of the people of Waswanipi of the mineral and organic chemical levels encountered in undertaking the study and will discuss the possible vectors by which they might be carried to the human population. This report will be written by the field researcher(s) in consultation with a specialist in the field of environmental health.
  2. In September 2010 a final report will be submitted that summarizes the results and makes recommendations on further measures, if any, to be undertaken by the authorities.
  3. The Cree regional Authority will develop a training plan for the two Cree researchers that will be implemented starting in January of 2010 and will build upon their field experience. The field researcher(s) will be called upon to comment on the proposed training plan in the summer of 2009.

Reporting Structure for the Work

The research will be overseen by the Cree Regional Authority designated specialist who will consult with the Waswanipi Environmental Officer and with Waswanipi Council concerning its undertaking.


Submissions of tender for this work are to be submitted to Madame Ginette Lajoie, Coordinator the Department of the Environment of the Cree Regional Authority, 277 Duke St. Montreal, Quebec , H3C 2M2, Canada; 514 861 5837 by midnight April 24, 2009. Proposals may also be submitted by fax or by Email: Fax: 1 514 861 0760; Email: Proposals submitted after that date will not be considered.

Company Expertise:

Examples of the Company's involvement in similar projects will be described.

Curriculum vitae of the worker(s) to undertake this work will be included.


Evidence of insurance for personal injury of your employees while they are undertaking this work must be presented.


The work will be divided into work to be accomplished in the fiscal year (April 1, 2009 to March 31, 2010) and work to be done in the following fiscal year (April 1, 2010 to March 31, 2011). Each year the following payment schedule will apply: 100% of the agreed to costs to be paid within 30 days of the submission of the summary report (2009) and final report (2010).

Criteria to be applied to the evaluation of submitted proposals:

The following will be used in evaluating the proposals received and the weighting to be applied to each criterion:

  1. The overall quality of the proposal based on its scientific soundness and cost efficiency. - 40
  2. Experience in the field of testing for mining effluent derived pollution. - 10
  3. Professional experience in the James Bay Territory. - 10
  4. Demonstrated capacity to work in a Cree environment. - 10
  5. Professional qualifications in testing for water and soil contaminants. - 10
  6. Proof of completing contracts on time and within budget. - 10
  7. Qualification and experience in environmental health. - 10