Ottawa will spend $11.4 million to clean up Pukatawagan s sewage-contaminated water. Indian Affairs Minister Ron Irwin made the announcement after visiting the community 200 km north of The Pas, Manitoba.

Irwin’s visit followed a mass exodus of Pukatawagan residents prompted by a flurry of Hepatatis A cases caused by dirty water. “We took a tour of all the sites and it’s pretty bad,’’said Irwin. “To see raw sewage going into a river that people drink from is terrible.”

Irwin ’s remarks mark a change in the government’s tune. When Pukatawagan residents first fled their community in early July, Ottawa said the problem was being exaggerated.