Iqaluit to spend $100K on bypass system for water treatment plant

Residents still waiting to hear it’s safe to drink water from their taps

Councillors voted Monday evening in favour of building a $100,000 pipeline to bypass the water treatment facility’s underground tanks. (Photo by David Venn)

By David Venn
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

The City of Iqaluit will spend $100,000 on a bypass system for its water treatment plant.

It’s a move city administration hopes will help meet requirements for the Government of Nunavut to lift a do-not-consume water advisory that has been in place in Iqaluit for more than a month. People in the city haven’t been able to drink their water since Oct. 12, when fuel contamination was discovered at the treatment plant.

Chief administrative officer Amy Elgersma presented the plan to build the bypass system to councillors during a special council meeting Monday night.

Council voted unanimously to approve the plan, pending GN approval of it. The city will try to recoup the money through the territorial government’s Municipal Request for Assistance program.

The bypass system, which could be in place by Nov. 20, will allow treatment plant operators to feed raw water around the underground tanks while giving it two tiers of disinfection — UV and chlorine. Then, the water will be stored in above-ground reservoirs.

There’s a chance of debris entering the reservoir because water flowing through the bypass system will be unfiltered. That may make the water taste different, said Elgersma.

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The bypass system will be a permanent addition to the water treatment plant and can be used in case of future emergencies or when upgrades are needed.

Coun. Romeyn Stevenson asked if the system would help satisfy the GN’s requirements to lift the do-not-consume order, to which Elgersma said that the GN is still reviewing the plan.

Elgersma also could not offer council a timeline as to when the do-not-consume order will be lifted.

City officials had to stop pumping from its backup source, the Sylvia Grinnell River, last week, due to falling temperatures. The Canadian military continues to pump and purify water from the river for the city to distribute with its water trucks.

“Weather is getting pretty cold and pumping operations … and distribution are challenging, and maintaining bottled water distribution is not practical or sustainable,” Elgersma said.

Also at the meeting, the two consultants for engineering firm WSP Canada presented raw data the city has collected at various points throughout Iqaluit’s treatment and distribution system. The data covers testing between the dates of Oct. 16 and 31.

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(4) Comments:

  1. Posted by Let’s Go Brandon! on

    $100K on a pipeline that may not even lift the do not consume order, what a gong show.

    Let’s Go Kenny!

  2. Posted by Northerner on

    So the city stopped paying for taxi fares to get water. 44 taxi company steps up to offer free rides for people to get water and get back home.
    Taxi drivers have to reach 32 daily trips to pay off their fees to drive and the 33rd trip + becomes money in their pocket.
    Taxi drivers are now adding more trips to those 32, just so people can get clean drinking water. this city is a disgrace

    • Posted by Taxi Fare Rates are Still Weird on

      I understand what you’re saying, and you’re mostly right, but taxi drivers don’t necessarily have to do 32 individual trips. If all of their trips were for 2 people, they would only have to do 16. If their trips were for 3 people, only 11.
      It’s so very strange that a ride from Apex to the Plateau for one person is $8, while a ride from Ventures to RBC for 3 people is $24.

      • Posted by Huh? on

        Huh? The City never was paying for taxi vouchers to get to water pick up spots. This was a volunteer-run initiative.

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