City of Iqaluit believes icy buildup in Lower Plateau area is groundwater

Workers investigating cause of problem

There is a buildup of icy water near House 5304 in the Lower Plateau area of Iqaluit. The city said it is investigating and did not find any broken or leaking pipes in the area. (Photo by David Lochead)

By David Lochead

A buildup of frozen water near a house in Iqaluit’s Lower Plateau area is not believed to be caused by broken or leaking pipes, according to the City of Iqaluit.

City workers are investigating, said City of Iqaluit spokesperson Geoffrey Byrne, and so far he said workers believe the cause is groundwater.

The icy buildup is mostly located behind House 5304 in Lower Plateau and partially on a snowmobile trail near the Nunavut Justice Centre.

The city was notified of the problem on Monday.

“At this time, [the groundwater buildup] will not affect the city or the building near the exposed water,” Byrne said.

He said there is no timeline for when the water might be removed, since it’s believed to be coming up from the ground, and it hasn’t been determined yet how much is there.


Share This Story

(25) Comments:

  1. Posted by north on

    Ground water bubbling up when its been below minus 10 or more for the last two months . Come on city seriously, been here a long time and never heard anyone mention groundwater coming from the city. this not the only spot in the city it is happening just not as much build up. Please educate me on this ?

    • Posted by But… on

      There are actually 2 of these springs located near Iqaluit

    • Posted by Joe on

      Ground water bubbles up all the time no matter the temperature. You see it all around while out on the land. There are even places you can fill a water bottle at -20 or more. And at -30 you can see what looks like steam so I don’t know what this -10 comment is based on.

      • Posted by Devil’s Avocado on

        That might be true, but isn’t there a pattern with those kind of springs? This one wasn’t there for 8+ years, then all of a sudden it’s gangbusters downhill from where a water main was dug up to connect a new building just three months ago. Occam’s razor.
        (remember when Ronald Reagan tried to blame trees for acid rain?)

  2. Posted by Devil’s Avocado on

    You see water and ice patches like that on south facing hillsides beginning in March. Late January, not so much.

  3. Posted by Here on

    test it for chlorine. if there’s chlorine, it’s treated water from a leak. no chlorine, it’s ground water. simple

    • Posted by Chemist on

      Chlorine dissipates. What really they should be checking for is fluoride which doesn’t. But they only have 24 hours to get it to Ottawa before the sample is compromised. They have chemical Analysis equipment up at the treatment plant but I don’t believe anyone is trained on it enough to make a diagnosis. Also if you look across from hospital, that valley fills up in the middle of winter. In my opinion though it’s the reservoir that’s leaking. It’s the only thing that has that much head pressure to force water through at these temperatures

  4. Posted by “Groundwater” on

    A city that’s synonymous with broken pipes stating that an ice buildup not noted in previous years is likely groundwater. Hmm…

  5. Posted by Also on

    The road just above was opened up in October to extend the utilidor to the new construction (building that is currently just a frame, next to the one in the photo). Could there be a connection?

    This leak started roughly 2 weeks ago and has expanded since, steam rises from it so the ice/water is warmer than air temperature. It started during the coldest weather we have had this winter.

  6. Posted by Northern Guy on

    This is the standard excuse/dodge that the city had used for decades to deflect problems with its dilapidated or just plain broken utilidor system. Anyone on the Plateu remember when they had “ground water” bubbling up into their houses throug the carrier pipe of their utilidor. As one expert once said ground water doesn’t move when the ground temperature drops below -10.

  7. Posted by Standard City excuse on

    The City also tried to convince me that the water pumping into my house 8 feet above the ground in February was groundwater. Big coincidence that there was also a crack in the water pipe below ground.

  8. Posted by Poor Reasoning. on

    Liquid springs are possible in winter even in places with a significant permafrost layer and large structures can create heat islands.

    I’m not saying this isn’t a broken line; it stands to reason given the city’s general lack of capacity. But the proof isn’t that the water is in liquid form.

    • Posted by Northern Guy on

      Springsdon’t just materialize out of thin air in areas where there has previously been no evidence of running water.

      • Posted by Very Poor Reasoning. on

        They do, actually.

        Do you think all the natural springs that exist today were there when our planet formed?

        They can also spontaneously disappear just as easily.

        • Posted by Devil’s Avocado on

          Of course springs appear and disappear, but how often and how quickly? I’d say recent nearby uphill water main work as a cause is orders of magnitude more likely than a spontaneous groundwater eruption.

          • Posted by Still Poor on

            It can happen often and quickly, but that’s irrelevant.

            Not only did I not suggest that this is actually a spring; I conceded that, on the balance of probabilities, it’s as or more likely to be a broken line.

            I was simply stating that the proof in not that the water is liquid. And that comment stands.

  9. Posted by L’ill Bill on

    We had “ GROUND WATER “ come into our house a number of years ago on the plateau thru the
    Pipes. Flooded our house, ruined floors and carpets. We stopped the water coming in by drilling holes in the outer housing of the pipes. They tested the water and said there wasn’t any chlorine in the samples so it had to be ground water even though you could smell it. This went on at our house for 10 days, the city at the time headed by an idiot in public works denying it was a leak in the main until somebody discovered yes bye we do have a leak. The city at the time denied all responsibility costing us a small fortune plus inconvenience. They were ages fixing their problem meanwhile hundreds of thousands litres of water went over the side of the hill.

  10. Posted by I Believe on

    I believe our city counselors can fly by flapping their arms.

  11. Posted by I live in the Arctic on

    fingers crossed for a new hot spring a new spa for iqaluit eh?

    • Posted by John K on

      Wouldn’t catch me in it. Can you imagine the condition after a month of no care or maintenance?

  12. Posted by Thirst for Vocabulary on

    The term “gaslighting” is now prohibited in the City of Iqaluit, and from now on the term “groundwatering” shall be used instead.

  13. Posted by Northerner on

    Wild. That’s a lot of ice. It’s not easy dealing with a utilidor in the arctic, and lots of construction going on that’s constantly disturbing the stability of the cities substrate. Iqaluit is in a unique situation. Can’t imagine working in these temps outside lately either. Hope they can figure it out and when that ice lens melts, hopefully the drainage is setup for it. What’s under that building? Is it the arctic college?

    • Posted by Dulcinea on

      It’s not actually coming from the building in the photo, but rather from near one that is out of frame just to the right. It’s just a steel framework at present. It’s an NCC building, will be a twin of the one that was completed last year.

  14. Posted by Ice on

    The ice build up has continued to increase. We are now Jan 30. There has been no evidence that the city is taking this seriously, unless they are too busy with other leaks and need to prioritize.

Comments are closed.