Ground Water Canada

News Contamination Water Issues
Iqaluit provides update on water quality emergency investigation


October 25, 2021
By Ground Water Canada

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Iqaluit, Nunavut – While the City of Iqaluit continues to make progress on its investigation into the drinking water quality issue, its “Do Not Consume” order remains in effect until further notice.

The City of Iqaluit reported Oct. 22 it is doing everything in its power to ensure residents have safe and reliable drinking water.

Recent test results show that water in the City’s distribution system were below levels concerning for health. The City is conducting work to remove remaining hydrocarbons from the water treatment system, specifically in the treated reservoir storage tanks. The contamination is presenting as hydrophobic and tends to remain on the surface which means it can be removed directly from those tanks using a vacuum system, preventing the contamination from entering the City’s distribution system.

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Iqaluit has completed the first round of flushing the City’s water pipes, there will be additional flushing once the work at the treated reservoir is complete to remove hydrocarbons from the system.

Water engineering consultants are in Iqaluit and additional expertise will be brought in as required.

The in-ground tank containing the high concentrations of contaminants in the Water Treatment Plant has been isolated, pumped out for remediation and has undergone cleaning. The affected tank has been successfully bypassed and water continues to be treated and sent out to the City’s distribution system.

The investigation to date has pointed to potential hydrocarbon contamination in the soil and/or ground water outside the water treatment plant which may have leached into the affected tank.

An Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) Phase II, subsurface investigation has begun. Contractors are expecting drilling to start early next week to take soil and ground water samples from outside the Water Treatment Plant. Next steps are dependant on test results. We will take direction from our experts on actions required to remediate the site.

Iqaluit is undertaking a rigorous sampling program and is testing for hydrocarbons throughout the water treatment processes and within the distribution system.

In addition, the City is implementing an online, real=time water monitoring station focusing on detecting and trending hydrocarbons. The water monitoring station, installed Oct. 22, will allow the city to obtain real-time information on hydrocarbon levels.