Nunatsiaq News
NEWS: Nunavut August 03, 2018 - 10:40 am

Whale Cove still has coliform in its drinking water, four years later

New water filtration system to be installed mid-August

SARAH ROGERS
A boater drives past Whale Cove along Hudson Bay at sunset. For the fourth summer on record, GN health officials have issued a boil water advisory for the Kivalliq community. (PHOTO COURTESY OF HAMLET OF WHALE COVE)
A boater drives past Whale Cove along Hudson Bay at sunset. For the fourth summer on record, GN health officials have issued a boil water advisory for the Kivalliq community. (PHOTO COURTESY OF HAMLET OF WHALE COVE)

For the fourth summer on record, Government of Nunavut health officials have issued a boil water advisory for the Kivalliq community of Whale Cove.

The community of 400 has had an ongoing issue with the presence of coliform bacteria in its freshwater source through the summer and fall, though hamlet officials have yet to understand what causes it.

The GN calls the advisory a precautionary measure, but it requires residents to boil any water they plan to consume for at least a full minute.

That includes water used for preparing infant formula, juices and ice cubes, as well as water used for washing fruits and vegetables, for cooking or brushing teeth, the GN said in an Aug. 2 release.

While healthy adults and older children can shower or bathe with the community’s tap water, health officials advise that infants, toddlers and people with illnesses should be sponge bathed to avoid swallowing water, the GN added.

The hamlet said there have been no reported illnesses linked to the community’s drinking water so far this year.

Coliform is a type of bacteria that occurs naturally in plants, soil and in the digestive tracts of humans and animals, although humans are at risk of becoming ill from water-borne coliform.

In the past, hamlet officials blamed the presence of bacteria on heavy rains in the spring months, which were thought to have possibly contaminated the community’s water source—a lake just outside the village. But officials have never pinpointed the source.

In 2017, the boil water advisory lasted a total of four months, from late June through until early November.

Partway through the summer, the GN announced funding for a $500,000 water filtration system to remove coliform from the system—a temporary fix to the problem.

The filtration unit was shipped to Whale Cove by sealift, but the hamlet was unable to have it installed before the winter freeze-up.

Now, the hamlet said a crew is scheduled to arrive early this month to install the unit, which should be up and running by mid-month.

“The plant will be operated during the summer seasons to mitigate the water quality issue until a permanent solution can be made,” Nunavut’s Health Department said in a release.

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(10) Comments:

#1. Posted by Whale teen on August 03, 2018

We lived in Whale Cove during the 1980’s dad said that the dump site and the water reservoir are too close together and the sea gulls will clean themselves after their stint in the dump, also the current water source is in a type of a valley that collects bacteria from the ground from runoffs. Talk to the elders, they know where the bacteria is coming from, The Rankin Inlet fresh water hole at the Madeline river at the Tulle site is not the same anymore as the Gold mine that is up river from the Madeline River and the Diane River is getting contaminated. The elders know, they do not want water from the river anymore as it makes the Tea dark. if the water is contaminated, the “Tea” will get dark once you place the tea bag in the hot water that came from a contaminated water.

#2. Posted by Thinking ahead on August 03, 2018

Whale Cove should be shuttered. The community is a drag on government resources and offers no tangible benefit to the territory or its residents.

#3. Posted by also Thinking ahead on August 03, 2018

#2 I agree. these small communities really take up value resources from a funding perspective.
relocation will be expensive but it pales in comparison to the funding they get every year till the end of time.

#4. Posted by What? on August 03, 2018

#1 Says “Talk to the elders, they know where the bacteria is coming from.”

I doubt they know what bacteria is.

“if the water is contaminated, the “Tea” will get dark once you place the tea bag in the hot water”

Contaminated with what? Bacteria won’t make the water dark so, what are you talking about? I think most of your post is non-sense.

#5. Posted by Just a small town girl on August 03, 2018

Alll just because of the coliform issue doesn’t mean this community needs to be “ shuttered .”
What the GN needs is to make this community prosper by decentralization.
Our land is as beautiful as the people. A small town with a big heart. Whale Cove becomes one when a family is in crisis and help out one another

#6. Posted by Thinker on August 03, 2018

Whale Cove is one of Nunavut healthy most towns.

Fisheries, mining, harvesting, and exploration in the area around the community.

Low crime rate. Lower mental health issues.

The capital koolaid brain trust in Iqaluit should be careful not to pick on the smallest, to put themselves into more money. We see you on twitter.

Smaller towns have every right to exist. Without govt Iqaluit would have little left. Without govt Whale Cove would still have a purpose! Gold exploration on municipal lands hey can you bank on that?

#7. Posted by Whale Cove-miutallarik on August 03, 2018

That’s odd.. Last comment agreeing with oneself? (same name). As an Whale Cove resident, I’d say we have every right to government funding as any community small or big. Just because our town is small, it doesn’t mean we’re lower than people in ’ bigger’ communities. We love the land here so.. The fact that it is small don’t bother us. Want to see our community bigger? Why not come and make it bigger as you want instead of saying it’s useless?

#8. Posted by Agree on August 04, 2018

#2 Thinking Ahead

Where is a better place in Nunavut for a community?
A place with adequate drinking water.
Adequate room for building houses.
Good hunting and fishing in the area.
Level ground, adequate for an airport.
On the coast.
Access to gravel.
A suitable place for waste disposal.
A place with an economic basis for existence.

#9. Posted by Back to the future on August 05, 2018

#1 and 2 are you guys from the early 1900s? It sure sounds like it. I wonder how you are going to vote in the federal elections?

#10. Posted by Thinking ahead on August 06, 2018

#8 What is the ‘economic basis for existence’ you’ve made reference too?

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