Few details available for 3rd-party review of Iqaluit water emergency

Review will involve Health, Community and Government Services, and City of Iqaluit

Health Department spokesperson Danarae Sommerville says a third-party review of the Nunavut government’s response to the Iqaluit water emergency is “still in the works.” (File photo by Mélanie Ritchot)

By Madalyn Howitt

A third-party assessment of the government’s response to the Iqaluit water emergency last fall has not yet started, and there is no timeline set yet for when it will.

Danarae Sommerville, a spokesperson for the Department of Health, said in an email to Nunatsiaq News that the review will involve the Department of Health, the Department of Community and Government Services and the City of Iqaluit.

The government has not yet identified who will do the review, Sommerville said.

She was also not able to say how long the review is expected to take or offer any cost estimates.

On Oct. 2, people started reporting the city’s water smelled of fuel. Ten days later, the city and territorial government told people to stop drinking the water due to suspected contamination. Officials later confirmed fuel contamination in multiple water tanks at the water treatment plant.

The emergency order to stop drinking the water in Iqaluit was lifted after two months, on Dec. 10.

In December, Nunavut’s chief public health officer, Dr. Michael Patterson, said a review of the government’s response to the water emergency will be conducted by a third party to learn lessons on how to handle a similar situation in the future.

Iqaluit Mayor Kenny Bell tweeted on Dec. 23 that he and Health Minister John Main agreed that the review should be done with the Health department, CGS and the city.

He added that he had requested help from the federal government to conduct the third-party assessment and that he will push for a public release of the review’s findings.

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(1) Comment:

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