Safe Drinking Water Team

Safe Drinking Water Team (SDWT) is composed of First Nations water treatment plant operators and scientific advisors whose goal it is to help other First Nations water treatment plant operators with the water treatment challenges that they face.


Brian Tralnberg

Brian Tralnberg, President

Brian has an extensive water quality and chemistry background with a Chemical Technician Diploma from SIAST. Brian worked at Cameco as a Chem Tech for 15 years, which was followed by one year at Safe Drinking Water Foundation and then six years as a Water Quality Monitor for the Saskatoon Tribal Council. Brian is now the lead operator for Whitecap Dakota First Nation which has two IBROM Water Treatment Plants.
Both Whitecap community and the Dakota Dunes plants have advanced Integrated Biological and Reverse Osmosis Membrane treatment systems (IBROMs) which produce water that meets or exceeds all World Health Organization (WHO) limits, let alone the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality.

Brian's passion is to educate water treatment plant operators in all First Nation communities on how to treat less than perfect quality raw water sources so that the water can be consumed without having to worry about whether it is safe to drink.

He also thrives on the opportunity to help educate and guide different community executives so that they feel more comfortable with the challenges that come when communicating with the agencies. The agencies presently tend to make decisions with or without the Bands'/owners' input when it comes to constructing water treatment plants which may or may not produce safe drinking water for First Nation communities and all its members. 

Robert (Bob) Pratt, Vice President

Robert (Bob) Pratt has been a water operator at George Gordon First Nation since 1988. Bob's raw water is high in everything including 85 micrograms/L of arsenic and very high levels of iron, manganese, organics, sulphate, hardness, etc. Initially, Bob used straight manganese greensand filtration, which was followed by manganese greensand plus RO. The potassium permanganate demand (a key factor in manganese greensand treatment) was five times larger than what Bob added and the process simply didn't work. In 2005 the manganese greensand plus RO process was replaced by an IBROM process. Bob is now producing drinking water that meets all global regulations. At the same time operational costs of the IBROM process compared with the previous process has dropped by $100,000 per year. Bob was also a circuit rider trainer for the Touchwood Tribal Council and he has seen a lot of water treatment processes applied to poor raw water sources. They all have two things in common. One, they don't work. Two, the federal government claims they work. Scientists have backed up Bob's position. They don't work in theory and even less (if that is possible) in practice.

Bob's passion is to teach other operators what they need to do to properly analyze and interpret water quality data. Every 5 years during his water plant's manganese greensand days they switched engineering companies just to later realize that it was impossible to treat his water with this method. The quality of the water was simply too poor. But, every engineering company had a "fix" for Bob. In reality, none did. Some simple math showed in the end that it could not be done. Bob has presented these issues at workshops across Canada.

Robert Pratt

Dr. Hans Peterson

Dr. Hans Peterson, Scientific Advisor

Dr. Hans Peterson was a founding member of SDWF in 1998 and he was its first Executive Director. Dr. Hans, as he is affectionately known, held the voluntary Executive Director position at SDWF for 10 years. He is still active in the SDWF and he is now SDWF’s Safe Drinking Water Ambassador. Dr. Hans has one dream and that is to provide water treatment solutions to even the smallest community with the poorest quality raw water source. The solutions for this are now available and there is no reason why these communities continue to suffer with poor quality drinking water.  Safe drinking water at every tap in the community is no longer a dream, it is a reality for any community that makes it a priority to provide this to its community members. Dr. Hans is also a founding member of the Advanced Aboriginal Water Treatment Team (AAWTT) and its successor the Safe Drinking Water Team (SDWT).

Dr. Tim Molnar, Scientific Advisor

Dr. Tim Molnar is an Assistant Professor in the College of Education at the University of Saskatchewan. Through science education Tim is seeking to support First Nations communities in making better choices for improving the quality of the drinking water in their communities. Safe drinking water at everybody's tap will improve health and well-being in their community. While most Canadians take good quality drinking water for granted, good quality drinking water is still an issue for many First Nations communities. Tim's work is centered on how to make the move towards safe drinking water both smoother and faster.

Dr. Tim Molnar

Dr. Lalita Bharadwaj

Dr. Lalita Bharadwaj, Scientific Advisor

Co-Lead: U of S Safe Water for Health Research Team

The mission of the Safe Water for Health Research Team (SWHRT) is to build community and scholarly capacity for water and health research in rural and remote communities in SK, in order to make evidence-based decisions about water policy that will promote the health of all SK residents.

Lalita's specific area of interest is water storage in First Nations communities, especially cisterns.

Another Cistern

Rebecca Zagozewski, Scientific Advisor

Rebecca Zagozewski currently serves as a Project Manager in the School of Public Health at the University of Saskatchewan. Her areas of expertise include social research with First Nations communities and drinking water, community development and sustainability, social learning, and housing cooperatives. She graduated with a Master's of Arts degree in Sociology from the University of Saskatchewan and has since worked for Dr. Lalita Bharadwaj. 

Rebecca works closely with numerous First Nations communities and organizations in Saskatchewan and has cultivated many productive research partnerships over the last five years. Collaborating with all members of the research team, Rebecca has ensured that the use of a community-based participatory research approach has resulted in positive experiences for the researchers and participants as they investigate the challenges and barriers to the access of safe drinking water in First Nations communities and how these challenges affect health in these communities. She further provides guidance and support to the research team in analyzing data, and interpreting and disseminating the results.

Rebecca Zagozewski

Robert Patrick

Dr. Robert (Bob) Patrick, Scientific Advisor

Bob Patrick is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography and Planning at the University of Saskatchewan. Bob came to the University of Saskatchewan in 2008 after 12 years as a regional planner in British Columbia, Canada. His teaching includes regional and environmental planning. His research interests include watershed planning for source water protection, mainly with First Nation communities in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Bill Marion, Technical Advisor

Bill Marion operates the IBROM plant at James Smith Cree Nation with his son Devon. Bill has worked closely on water issues with the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN) as well as with the Assembly of First Nations (AFN). With the AFN Bill was instrumental in helping develop the Circuit Rider Training Program. Bill has also helped both Indian Affairs and Health Canada develop better ways of supporting First Nations achieving better quality drinking water. For 25 years Bill has tirelessly tried to raise the bar for drinking water in First Nation communities both in Saskatchewan and nationwide. Bill is encouraging First Nation Leaderships to consider the IBROM technology because of the superior quality water produced.

Bill Marion